Talk:United States Solicitor General

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Please add citation to verify "10th justice"[edit]

I've never edited Wikipedia and don't have time to make sure I do it correctly, sorry, but I do know that the 10th justice reference is commonplace in the legal world. See, e.g., this book by a respected legal historian: Caplan, Lincoln. The Tenth Justice: The Solicitor General and the Rule of Law. New York, NY: Alfred A. Knopf, 1987. In other words, the answer to "by whom?" is "lawyers, judges, and legal academics." Oh, not to mention the NY Times! "The solicitor general, who is the only federal official required by statute to be “learned in the law” and is sometimes referred to informally as “the 10th justice,” supervises appellate litigation involving the federal government and presents the government’s views to the Supreme Court." —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 07:27, 9 October 2009 (UTC)


There's a contradiction with another article. In the Certiorari section of this article it says that appx 75 writs of certiorari are granted by the Supreme Court. In the certiorari it says 80 to 150. I don't know which is right, but generally a reference work (i.e. wikipedia) should agree with itself...

Table improvement[edit]

The table in the article, although containing all the necessary information, is not uniform: in its first half there are only the presidents' last names, while later on there are their full names. This situation not only doesn't produce a nice image but I do not like the practice of writing only last names. So I've changed it. Hope it's for the better. --Bill the Greek 07:34, 29 July 2005 (UTC)


I cut:

There has never been a female Solicitor General, so it is unclear what sort of dress a woman holding the office would wear before the court.

While it's true that there's not yet been a female SG, It's my understanding that a deputy SG, when arguing before the Supremes, also wears the distinctive costome. Surely by now there's been a female deputy to argue. I wish I had time to check... Ellsworth 19:49, 6 May 2006 (UTC)

  • Also, speculation is best left on this discussion page, not on the article page.—Markles 20:28, 6 May 2006 (UTC)
  • If there's never been a female Solicitor General, all of the PC talk about "he or she" is really unneccessary. Mysticfeline 22:48, 6 May 2006 (UTC)mysticfeline
    "He or she" is only used twice in the article - hardly enough to be "clunky" or to interrupt the flow of the reading. Yes, it's unnecessary PC, but as it doesn't significantly detract from the article, it's best left alone. --Tim4christ17 23:17, 27 June 2006 (UTC)
still a stylistic issue, but if one were to cure all the style issues in wikipedia, there would be little time left for anything else BonniePrinceCharlie 10:50, 28 November 2006 (UTC)


Why were removed the comments about the distinctive uniform when arguing before the court? 00:20, 4 April 2007 (UTC)

This article is of extreme importance to the U.S. government. it is sad that it is very short. Some good wikipedian should get in there and lengthen it to a more appropriate time. I especially want to see moredetails on how the office was founded.

Possible erroneous statement about qualifications[edit]

The Solicitor General is not required by law to hold a law degree, but it is required that they be "learned in the law." 28 U.S.C § 505; Act of June 22, 1870, ch. 150, § 2, 16 Stat. 162. For instance, Thomas D. Thacher did not complete his formal legal education, and was Solicitor General from 1930-1933 (see link within this article). Also, I noticed that Barbara D. Underwood is not listed by the Department of Justice website as ever having held the position of Solicitor General. Former SG Seth Waxman wrote an interesting historical note on the position. It is posted on the DOJ website which you can link to from the article.

Thanks for the article75.68.192.62 (talk) 07:03, 26 February 2008 (UTC)


The last sentence of this section notes that "many" who have worked for the Solicitor General have been appointed to the SCt. This should at the very least be cited, but preferably explained more fully with names and position within the SG office. How many is many? Did the Justices work for the Office of the Solicitor General, or were they the Solicitor General? Were they deputies? Not a super big deal, but I think a bit more precision could only improve an already good article. Also, it might be mentioned that Chief Justice Roberts was a deputy SG from '89-'93. ( (talk) 01:57, 22 May 2008 (UTC)

Addressed as "General XXX"[edit]

I don't have a source for this off the bat, but one thing that always amuses me is that the Solicitor General is referred to (e.g. on news broadcasts) as "General Kagan", just as if she were a military general. Might be worth adding if someone has a source. Grover cleveland (talk) 05:50, 10 September 2009 (UTC)

This form of address is also used for the Attorney General, I believe-- (talk) 21:32, 3 February 2010 (UTC)

Please advise: for how long the Solicitor General serves[edit]

Thank you

Sherthgt (talk) 03:38, 8 May 2010 (UTC)

Possible Kagan vacancy[edit]

There are a couple of problems conceptually with the page. The Solicitor General is a title given to one individual as is the President of the United States, but is also the name of an office (see Executive Office of the President of the United States. This dualism has led to a discrepancy in current page and the title. The title suggests the page should be about the individual as Solicitor General, while most of the page is about the Office of the Solicitor General. Either we should change the title or change the focus.

Back to the edit by Kevin W. (talk), I do not think this information about future action in the office is appropriate for a Wikipedia article. It would be one thing to say that General Kagan has stepped aside from playing an active role in the Solicitor General's office [1], but I do not think it should be in the lead of the article about what may happen in the future.--Enos733 (talk) 06:05, 11 July 2010 (UTC)

That's fine. I won't dispute my addition being removed. --Kevin W. 07:07, 11 July 2010 (UTC)

Confession of judgment[edit]

The article makes this unlikely-seeming claim:

Another tradition, possibly unique to the United States, is the Solicitor General's right and practice of confession of judgment: the Solicitor General can simply drop a case if he or she considers the government's prior official position to be unjust, even if the government has already won in lower court.

It does not cite any examples, and I was not able to find any example in many searches of online material, or any reference to this practice that was not directly derived from Wikipedia. If true, it would be quite surprising that discretion about defending federal statutes would be delegated to the Solicitor General. I was able to find discussion of circumstances under which the Department of Justice will refuse to defend cases, but they all concerned matters that were declared unconstitutional by related decisions of the Supreme Court, or which the President had himself personally declared unconstitutional. For example, this document from the Attorney General's office discusses the matter in detail, in the context of Presidential signing statements.

I would really like to see a citation for this paragraph, preferably several. —Mark Dominus (talk) 17:37, 24 February 2011 (UTC)

I was also unable to find anything useful about the related term nolle prosequi. —Mark Dominus (talk) 19:02, 24 February 2011 (UTC)

The problem is that the term used is wrong, as is the description. It is called confession of error (I just created the article), and when the SG confesses error, the case is sent back to the lower court for reconsideration, not dropped. -Rrius (talk) 20:05, 24 February 2011 (UTC)
Thank you very much! —Mark Dominus (talk) 14:09, 25 February 2011 (UTC)

Too much detail in the lead paragraph[edit]

The first paragraph says who the current solicitor-general is, which I would expect. What I would not expect, and do not see any reason for, is to be told in the next sentence who his two immediate predecessors were. This information is in the list further down the article, where it belongs. Is there a reason it is in the leaf paragraph, am I missing something? Otherwise it should be taken out. Richard75 (talk) 12:18, 13 November 2012 (UTC)

Morning Dress?[edit]

Are there any available (legally usable) pictures of the incumbent in the monkey suit? It would be amusing to have one on this article. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 2602:306:BDED:C710:8CEE:BAB9:AA39:4C11 (talk) 13:50, 22 June 2014 (UTC)