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Law Deans Are Said to Be Top Contenders for Solicitor General

Publication Date: 
January 02, 2009
Greg Stohr and James Rowley

Bloomberg reports Kathleen Sullivan, former dean and director of the Stanford Constitutional Law Center is being considered for the Solicitor General post. The story quotes Associate Professor of Law Jeffrey Fisher who co-directs the Supreme Court Litigation Clinic:

The Harvard and Stanford law schools’ first female deans are the leading candidates to serve as Barack Obama’s voice at the U.S. Supreme Court, according to people familiar with the selection process.

Harvard Law School Dean Elena Kagan, 48, and former Stanford Law School Dean Kathleen Sullivan, 53, are the two top contenders for the position of solicitor general, a position informally known as the “tenth justice.”

For either, the job ultimately might be a step toward a seat on the Supreme Court itself. The next solicitor general will preside over an almost-certain shift of the federal government’s position before the high court on terrorism, product-liability lawsuits and other issues. No woman has ever served as solicitor general on a permanent basis.

“They already have to be on any list of potential Supreme Court nominations for the administration,” said Jeffrey Fisher, a Stanford law professor who argues before the high court. “Having the experience of being solicitor general would only accentuate their portfolio.”