This week, California caught up with a trend that has transformed the way some cases are argued at the
The title isn't new, but DuMont will preside over an expanded office (the staff will grow from three to 11) and will have unprecedented discretion. He also likely will appear before the Supreme Court in important cases involving the state. It won't be a new experience for him: He's appeared before the justices 18 times.
Historically, states were represented at the court in high-profile cases by the attorney general, an elective office in many states. Indeed, that office is often a steppingstone to higher office, giving rise to the joke that AG stands for "almost governor." Some attorneys general saw appearing before the Supreme Court as an opportunity to raise their political profile.
The problem was that elected attorneys general weren't always comfortable in the niche specialty of appellate advocacy. Gradually it dawned on them that the state's interests might be better served if a pro handled the oral arguments.
In 1999, Texas established the office of state solicitor general, modeled after the U.S. solicitor general, and that official represents the state in both the U.S. Supreme Court (which hears lots of death penalty appeals from Texas) and the Texas Supreme Court.
Other states are following suit, as it were. This month, the U.S. Supreme Court heard a case involving an amendment to the Michigan state constitution that outlaws racial preferences at state universities. Although Michigan Atty. Gen.
As a general proposition, solicitors general, unlike attorneys generals, don’t aspire to higher office. But there’s an exception to every rule. A former Texas solicitor general now represents his state in the