Accomplished Supreme Court advocates across the ideological spectrum have kind words for George Conway III, who the Trump transition is vetting to serve as solicitor general, the nation’s top appeals lawyer.
George Conway is the husband of Trump senior advisor Kellyanne Conway. Conway currently practices law at Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz, a powerhouse law firm based in New York.
Lisa Blatt, head of rival Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer’s appellate practice called Conway a talented writer and something of a legal nerd. “He’s a law geek, and I’ve never seen a better writer,” she told the National Law Journal’s Tony Mauro.
Bernard Nussbaum, who served as President Bill Clinton’s White House counsel, was similarly effusive in his praise. “We worked together on numerous major matters, so I have first-hand knowledge of how talented he is,” he told NLJ. “I have advised a president on the appointment of a solicitor general and I believe George Conway would make an excellent solicitor general.” (RELATED: Kellyanne’s Husband Under Consideration For Top Legal Role)
The solicitor general (SG) represents the U.S. government in all litigation before the Supreme Court. The SG is the primary advocate representing most federal agencies before the Court, and often files amicus (or “friend of the court”) briefs in cases where the government has a significant interest. Even if the U.S. is not party to a case the high court is hearing, the justices will often solicit the SG’s views. As a result, the solicitor general’s office is typically involved in some capacity with two-thirds of the cases the Court decides annually, leading some to refer to the SG as the “10th justice.”
Conway has only argued one case before the Supreme Court, which he won 8-0.
It is not necessarily unusual that an SG would have limited experience as a Supreme Court practitioner. Justice Elena Kagan had never argued at the high court when she left her perch at Harvard Law School to serve as the Obama administration’s first SG. Other former SGs, like Erwin Griswold, who served during the Johnson and Nixon administrations, had not argued before the Supreme Court for many years prior to their appointment.
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