Seth P. Waxman

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Seth Waxman
41st Solicitor General of the United States
In office
November 13, 1997 – January 20, 2001
PresidentBill Clinton
Preceded byDrew S. Days III
Succeeded byTheodore Olson
Personal details
Born (1951-11-28) November 28, 1951 (age 68)
Hartford, Connecticut, U.S.
Political partyDemocratic
EducationHarvard University (BA)
Yale University (JD)

Seth Paul Waxman (born November 28, 1951) is an American lawyer who served as the 41st Solicitor General of the United States. He was nominated by President Clinton on September 19, 1997, and confirmed by the United States Senate on November 9, 1997. He received his commission and took the oath of office on November 13, 1997, serving as Solicitor General until January 20, 2001.

Early life[edit]

Waxman was born in Hartford, Connecticut, and graduated from the area's public schools. He received his bachelor's degree summa cum laude in social studies from Harvard College in 1973 and was a Rockefeller Fellow in Kenya during the following year. In 1977, Waxman received his J.D. degree from Yale Law School, where he served as Managing Editor of the Yale Law Journal.


Waxman served as a law clerk to the late Gerhard A. Gesell, United States District Judge for the District of Columbia. Thereafter, he entered the private practice of law with the firm of Miller, Cassidy, Larroca & Lewin, where he specialized in complex criminal, civil, and appellate litigation. Waxman has received substantial recognition for his pro bono work, including the American Bar Association's Pro Bono Publico award and the Anti-Defamation League's Benjamin N. Cardozo Certificate of Merit.

Waxman joined the United States Department of Justice in May 1994. Prior to being appointed Solicitor General, he served in a number of other positions in the Department of Justice, including Acting Solicitor General, Acting Deputy Attorney General, Principal Deputy Solicitor General, and Associate Deputy Attorney General.

Waxman made the oral argument to the Supreme Court on behalf of the petitioners in Boumediene v. Bush, in which the court which upheld habeas corpus rights for detainees at Guantanamo Bay.[1] Waxman also made oral arguments to the Supreme Court regarding arbitrary application of FCC sanctions on public nudity. In these arguments he used the friezes decorating the courtroom to illustrate how some nudity is acceptable in a public setting.[2]


Waxman has long been active in Bar, community and school organizations. He is a Fellow of the American Bar Foundation, a member of the ABA's Standing Committee on Professionalism, a current and past ex officio member of several committees of the Judicial Conference of the United States, an ex officio member of the American Law Institute, and a member of the Visiting Committee for Harvard College.

Personal life[edit]

Waxman is married with three children—Noah, Sarah and Ethan—and makes his home in the District of Columbia, where he practices law as a partner with the law firm WilmerHale.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Wilmer Hale press release "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2011-07-18. Retrieved 2008-06-14.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link), retrieved on June 13, 2008.
  2. ^ Slate report [1], retrieved on January 11, 2012.


Legal offices
Preceded by
Walter Dellinger
Solicitor General of the United States
Succeeded by
Barbara Underwood