Paul Clement

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Paul Clement
Paul D. Clement.jpg
Official portrait, 2005
Acting United States Attorney General
In office
September 17, 2007 – September 18, 2007
PresidentGeorge W. Bush
Preceded byAlberto Gonzales
Succeeded byPeter Keisler (Acting)
43rd United States Solicitor General
In office
July 11, 2004 – June 19, 2008
Acting: July 11, 2004 – June 13, 2005
PresidentGeorge W. Bush
Preceded byTed Olson
Succeeded byGregory Garre
United States Principal Deputy Solicitor General
In office
February 2001 – July 11, 2004
PresidentGeorge W. Bush
Preceded byBarbara Underwood
Succeeded byDaryl Joseffer
Personal details
Paul Drew Clement

(1966-06-24) June 24, 1966 (age 56)
Cedarburg, Wisconsin, U.S.
Political partyRepublican
EducationGeorgetown University (BS)
Darwin College, Cambridge (MPhil)
Harvard University (JD)

Paul Drew Clement (born June 24, 1966) is an American lawyer who served as U.S. Solicitor General from 2004 to 2008 and is known for his advocacy before the U.S. Supreme Court. He established his own law firm, Clement & Murphy, in 2022 after leaving Kirkland & Ellis, following that firm’s decision to end its Second Amendment work.[1][2] He is also a Distinguished Lecturer in Law at Georgetown University and an adjunct professor at New York University School of Law. He was nominated by President George W. Bush on March 14, 2005, for the post of Solicitor General, confirmed by the United States Senate on June 8, 2005, and took the oath of office on June 13.

Clement resigned on May 14, 2008, effective June 2, 2008, and joined the Georgetown University Law Center as a visiting professor and senior fellow at the Supreme Court Institute.[3]

Early life and education[edit]

Clement was born and raised in Cedarburg, Wisconsin. He was one of four children born to Jean and Jerry Clement.

After graduating from Cedarburg High School in 1984, Clement attended Georgetown University's Walsh School of Foreign Service, graduating in 1988 with a Bachelor of Science in Foreign Service summa cum laude. While at Georgetown, Clement successfully competed in the American Parliamentary Debate Association as part of the university's Philodemic Society.

Clement then did graduate study in economics at Cambridge University's Darwin College, receiving an M.Phil. with distinction in 1989. He then attended Harvard Law School, where he became Supreme Court editor of the Harvard Law Review.[4] He was also one of eight editors of the law review's annual lampoon who oversaw publication of a satirical piece mocking an article by Mary Joe Frug on the one-year anniversary of her murder. Clement and the other seven editors apologized for the parody after backlash from students and faculty.[5] Clement graduated from Harvard in 1992 with a Juris Doctor magna cum laude.

Legal career[edit]

After law school, Clement was a law clerk to U.S. circuit judge Laurence Silberman of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit from 1992 to 1993, then to U.S. Supreme Court justice Antonin Scalia from 1993 to 1994.

After his clerkships, Clement entered private practice as an associate in the Washington, D.C. office of the law firm Kirkland & Ellis. Clement went on to serve as Chief Counsel of Subcommittee on the Constitution, Federalism and Property Rights of the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee. Afterwards, he was a partner in the Washington, D.C., office of King & Spalding, where he headed the firm's appellate practice. He also served from 1998 to 2004 as an adjunct professor at the Georgetown University Law Center, where he taught a seminar on the separation of powers.

Clement joined the United States Department of Justice in February 2001. Before his confirmation as Solicitor General, he served as Principal Deputy Solicitor General, and he became the acting Solicitor General on July 11, 2004, when Theodore Olson resigned. He has argued over 100 cases[6] before the United States Supreme Court, including McConnell v. FEC, Tennessee v. Lane, Rumsfeld v. Padilla, United States v. Booker, Hamdi v. Rumsfeld, Rumsfeld v. FAIR, Hamdan v. Rumsfeld, Gonzales v. Raich, Gonzales v. Oregon, Gonzales v. Carhart, Hein v. Freedom From Religion Foundation, and Sekhar v. United States. He also argued many of the key cases in the lower courts involving challenges to the Bush administration's conduct of the war on terrorism.[7] As of November 2011 he had argued more cases before the Supreme Court since 2000 than any other lawyer.[8]

On August 27, 2007, President Bush named Clement as the future acting Attorney General of the United States, to take office upon the resignation of Alberto Gonzales, effective September 17, 2007.[9] According to administration officials, Clement took that office at 12:01 AM September 17, 2007, and left office 24 hours later.[10] On September 17, President Bush announced that Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Division, Peter Keisler would become acting Attorney General, pending a permanent appointment of a presidential nominee.[11][12]

Clement gave notice of his resignation on May 14, 2008, effective June 2, 2008, and returned to Georgetown University Law Center as a senior fellow.[3] He had been mentioned as a possible Supreme Court nominee in a John McCain presidency,[3] and was a coveted potential hire among D.C. legal firms, who reportedly vied to build a firm around his expertise in appellate matters.[13] Evan Tager of Mayer Brown said: "Paul Clement is the Holy Grail of law firm recruiting... The buzz in the legal world about Clement is like the buzz in basketball when LeBron James was coming out of high school and turning pro. It will be interesting to see where the market will go."[13]

As of November 20, 2008, Clement re-joined King & Spalding as a partner in its expanding appellate litigation practice. As part of King & Spalding, he argued on behalf of the NRA in the Supreme Court case McDonald v. Chicago on March 2, 2010.[14]

Clement was part of the legal team that represented NBA players in labor negotiations during the 2011 lockout. Clement also advised 10 NFL players in the spring of 2011 when the NFL was facing a potential lock-out.[15]

As a partner at King & Spalding, Clement was hired in April 2011 by the Republican majority in the U.S. House of Representatives to defend the Defense of Marriage Act, a law that defined marriage as between one man and one woman, after the U.S. Department of Justice chose to stop defending it.[16] King & Spalding withdrew from the case on April 25, 2011, and Clement resigned from the firm to continue his representation, arguing that "representation should not be abandoned because the client's legal position is extremely unpopular in certain quarters."[17]

Clement joined Bancroft PLLC, a boutique law firm led by former Assistant Attorney General Viet D. Dinh.[18][19]

Clement led the challenge on behalf of 26 states to overturn the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act in the Supreme Court on March 26–28, 2012. The Court upheld the "individual mandate" as a tax, but found the States could not be compelled to follow the portion of the law relating to Medicaid expansion.

On March 27, 2013, Clement served for the respondent Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group of the United States House of Representatives at the Supreme Court in United States v. Windsor. On June 26, 2013, the Court ruled against Clement and BLAG by finding the Defense of Marriage Act to be unconstitutional.

Clement was mentioned as a potential Supreme Court nominee of Republican presidential nominees John McCain and Mitt Romney.[3][20] In 2014, Jeffrey Toobin named Clement a likely Supreme Court nominee in the event of a Republican victory in the 2016 presidential election.[21]

In 2019, Clement was an attorney for the appellants in the landmark Rucho v. Common Cause Supreme Court case, in which partisan gerrymandering was declared a non-justiciable issue.[22]

In September 2020, Clement joined the list of President Donald Trump's potential Supreme Court candidates.

In June 2022, following his clients' Supreme Court victory in New York State Rifle & Pistol Association, Inc. v. Bruen, Clement separated from Kirkland & Ellis, after the firm announced it would "no longer handle Second Amendment litigation".[23] Subsequently, Clement opened a boutique law firm, Clement & Murphy PLLC, with Erin Murphy, another former partner at Kirkland & Ellis.[24][25]

Cases before the Supreme Court[edit]

He has argued over 100 cases[6] before the United States Supreme Court,[7] and as of November 2011 he had argued more cases before the Supreme Court since 2000 than any other lawyer.[8]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Paul D. Clement, Appellate Lawyer". Clement & Murphy. Retrieved July 27, 2022.
  2. ^ "Kirkland & Ellis's Adieu to the NRA: Out, Out Damn Spot! (1)". Retrieved July 27, 2022.
  3. ^ a b c d Biskupic, Joan (October 23, 2008). "For divided high court, two potential legacies". USA Today. Retrieved October 25, 2008.
  4. ^ "Paul D. Clement | Lawyers | Kirkland & Ellis LLP". Retrieved July 16, 2019.
  5. ^ Margolick, David (April 17, 1992). "At the Bar; In attacking the work of a slain professor, Harvard's elite themselves become a target". New York Times. Retrieved February 28, 2019.
  6. ^ a b "SCOTUS Milestone: Clement Tops 100 High Court Arguments". Bloomberg Law. February 21, 2020. Retrieved May 6, 2020.
  7. ^ a b Blum, Vanessa. "Point Man: Paul Clement leads the charge in defending the administration's tactics in the war on terror", Legal Times, January 16, 2004
  8. ^ a b Bhatia, Kedar (April 17, 2011). "Updated Advocate Scorecard (OT00-10)". DailyWrit. Archived from the original on December 31, 2011. Retrieved November 30, 2011.
  9. ^ Meyers, Steven Lee (August 27, 2007). "Embattled Attorney General Resigns". The New York Times. Retrieved August 27, 2007.
  10. ^ Eggen, Dan; Elizabeth Williamson (September 19, 2007). "Democrats May Tie Confirmation to Gonzales Papers". Washington Post. p. A10. Retrieved September 19, 2007.
  11. ^ "President Bush Announces Judge Michael Mukasey as Nominee for Attorney General", White House press release, September 17, 2007
  12. ^ "Bush Text on Attorney General Nomination". The Oklahoman. Associated Press. September 17, 2007. Retrieved May 6, 2020.
  13. ^ a b Slater, Dan (October 27, 2008). "Paul Clement: The LeBron James of Law Firm Recruiting". The Wall Street Journal Law Blog. Retrieved October 27, 2008.
  14. ^ "Transcript of Oral Arguments in McDonald v. Chicago" (PDF). US Supreme Court. March 2010. Archived from the original (PDF) on December 7, 2012. Retrieved March 2, 2010. PAUL D. CLEMENT, ESQ., Washington, D.C.; for Respondents National Rifle Association, Inc., et al., in support of Petitioners.
  15. ^ Sack, Kevin (October 27, 2011). "Lawyer Opposing Health Law Is Familiar Face to the Justices". New York Times. Retrieved October 27, 2011.
  16. ^ Camia, Catalina (April 18, 2011). "Boehner seeks to divert funds for gay marriage fight". USA Today. Retrieved April 18, 2011.
  17. ^ "Paul Clement Resignation Letter" (PDF). Retrieved April 25, 2011.[dead link]
  18. ^ "Clement Quits King & Spalding Over Marriage Act Decision". Bloomberg News. April 25, 2011.
  19. ^ "Paul D. Clement, Partner, Bancroft PLLC". Archived from the original on April 25, 2011.
  20. ^ Ingram, David (April 19, 2012). "Analysis: A Romney pick for top U.S. court? Frontrunners emerge". Reuters. Retrieved April 29, 2014.
  21. ^ Toobin, Jeffrey (March 18, 2014). "THE SUPREME COURT FARM TEAM". New Yorker. Retrieved April 29, 2014.
  22. ^ "Rucho v. Common Cause Oral Argument". C-SPAN. Retrieved May 6, 2020.
  23. ^ Gerstein, Josh. "Firm splits with lawyers who won gun rights case at Supreme Court". Politico. Retrieved June 24, 2022.
  24. ^ Murphy, Paul Clement and Erin (June 23, 2022). "Opinion | The Law Firm That Got Tired of Winning". Wall Street Journal. ISSN 0099-9660. Retrieved July 29, 2022.
  25. ^ "Paul D. Clement, Appellate Lawyer". Clement & Murphy. Retrieved July 29, 2022.

External links[edit]

Legal offices
Preceded by Solicitor General of the United States
Succeeded by