Noel Francisco

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Noel Francisco
Noel Francisco official photo.jpg
47th Solicitor General of the United States
In office
September 19, 2017 – July 3, 2020
PresidentDonald Trump
DeputyJeff Wall
Preceded byDon Verrilli
Succeeded byJeff Wall (acting)
In office
January 23, 2017 – March 10, 2017
Preceded byIan Heath Gershengorn (acting)
Succeeded byJeff Wall (acting)
Principal Deputy Solicitor General of the United States
In office
January 23, 2017 – March 10, 2017
PresidentDonald Trump
Preceded byIan Heath Gershengorn
Succeeded byJeff Wall
Personal details
Noel John Francisco

(1969-08-21) August 21, 1969 (age 51)
Syracuse, New York, U.S.
Political partyRepublican
Spouse(s)Cynthia Stewart
EducationUniversity of Chicago (BA, JD)

Noel John Francisco (born August 21, 1969) is an American attorney who served as the Solicitor General of the United States from 2017 to 2020.[1] He was the first Asian American confirmed by the United States Senate to hold the position.[2]

As Solicitor General, he was characterized as a staunch defender of President Trump. In his position, Francisco sought to have the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals struck down by the courts. He also defended Executive Order 13769, which limited the number of refugees able to enter the country from January 27, 2017 to March 6, 2017.

Early life and education[edit]

Francisco was born in Syracuse, New York, the son of Nemesio and Therese Francisco.[3][4] Therese was originally from Oswego, New York, and Nemesio immigrated from the Philippines to study medicine and became a doctor in Oswego.[3]

Francisco was raised in Oswego and graduated from Oswego High School.[3][5] He attended Brandeis University for one year,[5] before transferring to the University of Chicago, where he earned a Bachelor of Arts degree with honors in 1991.[3][6] In 1996, he earned a Juris Doctor degree with high honors from the University of Chicago Law School.[3][6]


After law school, Francisco served as a law clerk for Judge J. Michael Luttig of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, and then clerked for Associate Justice Antonin Scalia of the Supreme Court of the United States during the 1997 session.[6][7]

Francisco began his legal career at Cooper, Carvin, & Rosenthal, now known as Cooper & Kirk.[8] He was part of the legal team that worked for George W. Bush on the Florida recount in the 2000 presidential election.[3]

In 2001, Francisco was appointed as an Associate Counsel to President Bush in the Office of Counsel to the President. He later moved to the Office of Legal Counsel for the Deputy Assistant Attorney General in the United States Department of Justice, serving in that capacity from 2003 until 2005.

In 2005, Francisco moved back to the private sector, joining the Washington, D.C. office of the law firm Jones Day, eventually becoming the chair of the firm's government regulation practice. While at Jones Day, he appeared several times before the Supreme Court, including in McDonnell v. United States, which involved the meaning of "official act" under federal bribery statutes; Zubik v. Burwell, which involved the application of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act to regulations related to insurance coverage for contraception; and NLRB v. Noel Canning, which involved the Constitution’s recess appointment power.[9] He also argued numerous cases in the lower federal and state courts on a wide range of constitutional, civil, and criminal matters.[6]

Trump administration[edit]

Francisco left Jones Day when he was appointed by President Donald Trump to the position of Principal Deputy Solicitor General for the United States, effective January 23, 2017.[7][10][11][12] He served as the Acting Solicitor General from that date until March 10, 2017. On March 7, 2017, the White House announced Francisco's nomination to the position of Solicitor General.[7][13][14] He was confirmed by the U.S. Senate by a vote of 50–47 on September 19, 2017,[15] and was sworn in later that day.

With the resignation of Rachel Brand as Associate Attorney General on February 8, 2018, Francisco became the fourth-ranking official in the Justice Department.[16] Francisco received an ethics waiver on April 24, 2018, which relieved him of a previous obligation to recuse himself from any investigation in which his former employer, law firm Jones Day, was involved.[17][18] Jones Day, which owed Francisco approximately $500,000, represented the Trump presidential campaign in the Special Counsel investigation.[17]

On June 17, 2020, Francisco announced that he would be leaving his post at the Department of Justice, effective July 3, 2020.[19] In his three years as United States Solicitor General, Francisco had represented the United States government in over 150 merit cases, and personally argued in 17.[20]

As Solicitor General, Francisco has been characterized as an "aggressive defender" of Trump. As Solicitor General, Francisco sought to have the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) and the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) struck down.[21] He defended Trump's travel ban, which barred people from seven majority-Muslim countries.[21] He sought to prevent Congress from accessing a redacted version of Special Counsel Robert Mueller's report into Russian interference in the 2016 election.[22] He defended the Justice Department's decision to withdraw a case against Trump associate Michael Flynn even after Flynn had pleaded guilty.[22] He fought against a subpoena to turn over Trump's tax records to the Manhattan district attorney.[23]

During his tenure as Solicitor General, some alleged Francisco was "doing permanent damage" to the Department of Justice based on the number of times he changed the federal government's provisions and for advancing explanations in court that were widely perceived as pretextual.[24] He also received criticism for perceived misrepresentations before and after oral argument concerning Trump's travel ban.[25]

Personal life[edit]

Francisco is married with two daughters and resides in Washington, D.C.[7] He previously served on the Board of Directors of the Chicago-based Lumen Christi Institute.[26]

Selected publications and lectures[edit]

  • Francisco, Noel; Burnham, James (May 2013). "Noel Canning v. NLRB—Enforcing Basic Constitutional Limits on Presidential Power". Virginia L. Rev.. 99(1):17–29. Retrieved January 29, 2019.
  • Francisco, Noel J.; Burnham, James M. (October 3, 2016). "Time for a New Pleading Standard in Criminal Cases". Forbes. Retrieved January 29, 2019.


  1. ^ "Nominations: Department of Justice". Congressional Record. 163 (69): S2497. April 24, 2017. Retrieved January 26, 2019.
  2. ^ Visaya, Momar (September 25, 2017). "US Senate Confirms Fil-Am as Solicitor General". Philippine Daily Inquirer. Retrieved January 26, 2019.
  3. ^ a b c d e f Weiner, Mark (March 11, 2017). "Oswego's Noel Francisco, Likely Solicitor General: Legal Star Never Forgot His Home". The Post-Standard. Retrieved January 26, 2019.
  4. ^ Weiner, Mark (September 25, 2017). "Senate Confirms Oswego Native Noel Francisco as Trump's Solicitor General". The Post-Standard. Retrieved January 26, 2019.
  5. ^ a b Francisco, Noel (n.d.). "Questionnaire for Non-Judicial Nominees: Public" (PDF). United States Senate, Committee on the Judiciary. Retrieved January 26, 2019.
  6. ^ a b c d "Meet the Solicitor General". United States Department of Justice. September 29, 2017. Retrieved January 26, 2019.
  7. ^ a b c d "President Donald J. Trump Announces Key Administration Posts" (Press release). The White House, Office of the Press Secretary. March 7, 2017. Retrieved January 26, 2019.
  8. ^ Millbank, Dana (January 30, 2001). "White House Counsel Office Now Full of Clinton Legal Foes". The Washington Post. Retrieved July 2, 2017.
  9. ^ "Executive Session, Senate – September 19, 2017, Statement of the Majority Leader, Mitch McConnell". Congressional Record, 115th Congress, 1st Session. 163 (151): S5825–S5826. September 19, 2017. Retrieved September 24, 2017.
  10. ^ de Vogue, Ariane; Merica, Dan (March 7, 2017). "Trump to nominate Noel Francisco as solicitor general". CNN. Retrieved March 8, 2017.
  11. ^ "Written Statement of Noel Francisco", House of Representatives, The Committee on the Judiciary, Subcommittee on Courts, Commercial and Administrative Law. May 31, 2011. Retrieved April 28, 2017.
  12. ^ Beavers, Olivia (7 March 2017). "Trump to nominate Noel Francisco for solicitor general". The Hill. Retrieved March 8, 2017.
  13. ^ "Trump to nominate Francisco as advocate before Supreme Court: sources". 7 March 2017 – via Reuters.
  14. ^ Barnes, Robert (March 8, 2017). "Trump nominates D.C. lawyer Noel Francisco as solicitor general". The Washington Post. Retrieved March 8, 2017.
  15. ^ "Roll Call vote PN299". United States Senate. September 19, 2017. Retrieved September 24, 2017.
  16. ^ Bump, Philip (February 9, 2018). "Analysis | The No. 3 official at Justice is resigning. Here's how that affects Mueller". The Washington Post. ISSN 0190-8286. Retrieved February 15, 2018.
  17. ^ a b "CREW Discovers Previously Undisclosed Ethics Waiver for Solicitor General Noel Francisco". Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington. November 2, 2018.
  18. ^ McGahn, Donald Francis (April 24, 2018). "Executive Order 13770 Waiver for Noel Francisco" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on November 3, 2018. Retrieved November 3, 2018.
  19. ^ "Solicitor General Noel Francisco Announces Departure from Department of Justice". Office of Public Affairs. United States Department of Justice. Retrieved 17 June 2020.
  20. ^ Wolf, Richard. "Solicitor General Noel Francisco resigns after tumultuous years representing Trump at Supreme Court". USA TODAY. Gannett Co., Inc. Retrieved 17 June 2020.
  21. ^ a b "Solicitor General Noel Francisco, aggressive advocate for Trump, to step down". The Washington Post. 2020.
  22. ^ a b Benner, Katie (2020-06-11). "Solicitor General Noel Francisco Expected to Step Down". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2020-06-26.
  23. ^ Higgins, Tucker (2020-06-17). "Solicitor General Noel Francisco, who argued Trump positions before Supreme Court, leaving DOJ". CNBC. Retrieved 2020-06-26.
  24. ^ "Trump's lying lawyers are doing permanent damage to the Justice Department". Retrieved 2020-11-24.
  25. ^ Geltzer, Joshua A. (2018-05-02). "Even After Issuing a Correction, the Solicitor General Is Still Misleading the Supreme Court About the Muslim Ban". Slate Magazine. Retrieved 2020-11-24.
  26. ^ Entry for Noel Francisco, Board of Directors, The Lumen Christi. Retrieved March 9, 2017.

Public Domain This article incorporates public domain material from the United States Government document: "Meet The Acting Solicitor General (".

See also[edit]

External links[edit]

Legal offices
Preceded by
Ian Gershengorn
Solicitor General of the United States

Succeeded by
Jeff Wall
Preceded by
Jeff Wall
Solicitor General of the United States