United States Solicitor General

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The Solicitor General of the United States is the government's chief representative before the Supreme Court and in lower federal courts when the interests of the United States are involved in a case. It is the prerogative of the Solicitor General to petition on behalf of the government to the Supreme Court for review of cases of importance, to decide whether the government will appeal any decisions of lower courts, and it is his or her responsibility to prepare briefs and arguments for such cases. The Solicitor General will often personally argue the highest profile cases.

The office and powers of the Solicitor General are authorized by 28 U.S.C. ยงยง 505, 517 and 518.

The Solicitor General is often referred to as "The Tenth Justice" because his office is an important part of the practice of the Supreme Court. Although the Court grants certiorari in something less than 5% of the cases brought before it, if the Solicitor General brings a case cert is granted most of the time, and the Court will rule in his favor more often than not. The Court also occasionally asks the SG's office to submit a brief when it wants the Government's perspective.

Solicitor General Ted Olson retired in 2004. Since then the office has remained vacant, with Olson's former deputy, Paul D. Clement, serving as Acting Solicitor General.

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