By Jason Cruz
Northwest Asian Weekly
Noel Francisco was named as the nominee to be the solicitor general for President Donald Trump’s administration. It is a key position within the administration — acting as the attorney for the federal government before the United States Supreme Court. He would be the first Asian American to serve in that role.
Francisco, 47, is a Republican from New York. His father is of Filipino ancestry. He attended the University of Chicago and obtained a Bachelor of Arts in Economics in 1991. He then went on to its law school and graduated in 1996. After law school, he served in prestigious law clerk positions for Judge Michael Luttig of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit and then for Associate Justice Antonin Scalia of the U.S. Supreme Court.
In 2001, he served as Associate Counsel to President George W. Bush in the Office of the Counsel to the President. Two years later, Francisco moved to the Office of Legal Counsel for the Deputy Assistant Attorney General in the Department of Justice. He then went on to private practice with the law firm of Jones Day in Washington, D.C. where he appeared before the U.S. Supreme Court, a distinction few attorneys are able to accomplish in their career. He went up against President Barack Obama’s solicitor general on two cases before the Supreme Court. Former solicitor general Neal Katyal described Francisco as a “fabulous oral advocate.”
Francisco stayed with Jones Day until returning to the Justice Department when President Trump took office and has served as principal deputy solicitor general. He was appointed to that position by Trump and has served as the acting solicitor general since then. Last month, the White House announced his pending nomination to become the full-time solicitor general.
“Noel Francisco is one of the nation’s best appellate lawyers,” stated David Lat, founder of the legal blog Above the Law. Appellate lawyers evaluate decisions made by trial courts and administrative agencies. Lat wrote extensively about the search for solicitor general and reported on the Francisco nomination.
Lat noted Francisco should not have any problem being confirmed by the senate. “His credentials are impeccable, so qualifications are not an issue.” Lat added, “He previously served in high-ranking government positions, at both the Justice Department and in the White House, so his background check should come back clean as well. And I think his confirmation will be helped by the fact that he is Asian American, adding diversity to an administration that is a bit short on it.”
Lat, a Filipino American and Yale Law School graduate, stated that despite political differences, Francisco’s nomination is a highlight for Asian American lawyers. “I think Asian and Filipino American attorneys should take inspiration and pride from Noel Francisco’s nomination. This is one of the most prestigious and important positions in the federal government, and if Francisco is confirmed, it will be held by a Filipino American.”
Lat notes that George Conway III was also a candidate for the position. Conway, who is also Filipino American, is a counselor to President Trump.
“Regardless of politics, we as Filipino Americans should be proud to have such distinguished and talented attorneys as members of our community.”
Jason can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.