By Janet Wallace • November 06, 2008•Firms and the Private Sector
The U.S. Solicitor General position has been held by many prominent lawyers--Thurgood Marshall and Robert Bork, to name two--but the position has yet to be filled by a woman. Several sources are reporting that "some women could be on Obama's short list for the spot", including Washington lawyer Beth Brinkmann, Stanford Law School professor and former dean Kathleen Sullivan, Harvard Law Dean Elena Kagan, former New York State solicitor general Preeta Bansal, and MetLife litigation counsel Teresa Wynn Roseborough.
Reporting on the immediate impact Obama's decision could have, Joan Biskupic writes:
Unlike justices, who are appointed for life, the solicitor general (SG) serves for four years or less during the president's term. A vacancy on the bench may arise by next summer. Five of the nine justices are 70 or older, and John Paul Stevens is 88. In recent decades, retiring justices generally have waited until the end of a court term, around June, to reveal their intentions.
Dubbed "the 10th justice," because of his close relationship to the court, the solicitor general is involved in about two-thirds of the court's cases and significantly shapes its docket. He often will weigh in when the government is not a party in a case, and the court routinely asks the SG's office for advice on whether to take a pending appeal.