Monday, May 10, 2010
LIMON CO (IFS) - This description is from Wikipedia and it tells what this office holders duties are. One thing is for sure, General Kagan is the first woman solictor ever appointed to this position in the history of the United States. The United States Solicitor General is the person appointed to represent the Government of the United States before the Supreme Court of the United States. Currently, the Solicitor General is Elena Kagan, who was confirmed by the United States Senate on March 19, 2009.
The Solicitor General determines the legal position that the United States will take in the Supreme Court. In addition to supervising and conducting cases in which the government is a party, the Solicitor General's office also files amicus curiae briefs in cases in which the federal government has a significant interest in the legal issue. The Solicitor General's office argues on behalf of the government in virtually every case in which the United States is a party, and also argues in most of the cases in which the government has filed an amicus brief. In the federal courts of appeals, the Office of the Solicitor General reviews cases decided against the United States and determines whether the government will seek review in the Supreme Court. The Solicitor General's office also reviews cases decided against the United States in the federal district courts and approves every case in which the government files an appeal.
The Solicitor General is assisted by four deputies and seventeen attorney assistants. Three of the deputies are career attorneys in the Department of Justice. The remaining deputy is known as the "Principal Deputy," sometimes called the "political deputy" and, like the Solicitor General, typically leaves at the end of an administration. The Principal Deputy currently is Neal Katyal. The other deputies currently are Michael Dreeben, Edwin Kneedler, and Malcolm L. Stewart.
The Solicitor General or one of the deputies typically argues the most important cases in the Supreme Court. Each of the attorney assistants also typically argues cases each year.
The Solicitor General, who has offices in the Supreme Court Building as well as the Department of Justice Headquarters, has been called the "tenth justice" as a result of the relationship of mutual respect that inevitably develops between the justices and the Solicitor General (and their respective staffs of clerks and deputies). As the most frequent advocate before the Court, the Office of the Solicitor General generally argues dozens of times each term. As a result, the Solicitor General tends to remain particularly comfortable during oral arguments that other advocates would find intimidating. Furthermore, when the Solicitor General's office endorses a petition for certiorari, review is frequently granted, which is remarkable given that only 75–125 of the over 7,500 petitions submitted each term are granted review by the Court.
Other than the justices themselves, the Solicitor General is among the most influential and knowledgeable members of the legal community with regard to Supreme Court litigation. Four Solicitors General have later served on the Supreme Court: Robert H. Jackson, Stanley Forman Reed, Thurgood Marshall, and William Howard Taft (who was Chief Justice of the United States). Some who have had other positions in the office of the Solicitor General have also later been appointed to the Supreme Court. For example, Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Jr. was the Principal Deputy Solicitor General during the Reagan administration and Associate Justice Samuel Alito was an Assistant to the Solicitor General. Only one former Solicitor General has been nominated to the Supreme Court unsuccessfully, that being Robert Bork; however, no sitting Solicitor General has ever been denied such an appointment. Eight other Solicitors General have served on the United States Courts of Appeal.
Within the Justice Department, the Solicitor General exerts significant influence on all appeals brought by the department. Whenever the DOJ wins at the trial stage and the losing party appeals, the concerned division of the DOJ responds automatically and proceeds to defend the ruling in the appellate process. However, if the DOJ is the losing party at the trial stage, an appeal can only be brought with the permission of the Solicitor General. For example, should the tort division lose a jury trial in federal district court, that ruling cannot be appealed by the Appellate Office without the approval of the Solicitor General.
Several traditions have developed since the Office of Solicitor General was established in 1870. Most obviously to spectators at oral argument before the Court, the Solicitor General and his or her deputies traditionally appear in formal morning coats, although Elena Kagan, the first woman to hold the office, has elected to forego the practice. More significantly, the Solicitor General is permitted to "lodge" in the appellate record new evidence that would ordinarily not be considered by the justices. Another tradition, possibly unique to the United States, is the Solicitor General's right and practice of confession of judgment: the Solicitor General can simply drop a case if he or she considers the government's prior official position to be unjust, even if the government has already won in lower court.