Walter E. Dellinger III

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Walter Dellinger
Walter E. Dellinger III.jpg
Acting Solicitor General of the United States
In office
July 1, 1996 – November 13, 1997
PresidentBill Clinton
Preceded byDrew Days
Succeeded bySeth P. Waxman
Personal details
Walter Estes Dellinger III

(1941-05-15) May 15, 1941 (age 79)
Charlotte, North Carolina, U.S.
Political partyDemocratic
EducationUniversity of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (BA)
Yale University (JD)

Walter Estes Dellinger III (born May 15, 1941) is the Douglas B. Maggs Professor of Law at Duke University School of Law and head of the appellate practice at O'Melveny & Myers in Washington, D.C. He also currently leads Harvard Law School's Supreme Court and Appellate Litigation Clinic. He served as the acting United States Solicitor General for the 1996-1997 Term of the Supreme Court. Prior to his appointment as acting Solicitor General, Dellinger was an Assistant Attorney General and head of the Office of Legal Counsel under President Bill Clinton. He has also appeared as a commentator on This Week, the ABC News Sunday morning program hosted by George Stephanopoulos. Dellinger is a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Yale Law School.

Life and career[edit]

Dellinger was born in Charlotte, North Carolina. He is the father of lawyer and political candidate Hampton Dellinger. Walter Dellinger received a B.A. degree from the University of North Carolina. In 1966, he graduated from Yale Law School, and then clerked for Justice Hugo Black of the U.S. Supreme Court during the 1968 Term.

On March 18, 2008, he unsuccessfully represented the District of Columbia before the United States Supreme Court in District of Columbia v. Heller. The District argued that its Firearms Control Regulations Act of 1975 should not be restricted by the Second Amendment.[1] The ban was overturned by the Supreme Court.

In February 2008, Dellinger represented Exxon Mobil Corporation in the Supreme Court in Exxon Shipping Co. v. Baker, which addressed whether certain punitive damages are available under federal maritime law. This case relates to the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill of 1989.

On March 5, 2010, the Washington Post published an op-ed by Dellinger defending Karl Thompson, a former subordinate of his.[2] Nine lawyers who had been appointed to positions within the Presidency, including Thompson, became the focus of criticism, because they had all worked on behalf of Guantanamo captives. In the op-ed Delligner said that Thompson had added assisting Lieutenant Commander William Keubler in his defense of Omar Khadr at his request. He said Thompson had helped assist Keubler for several months, in addition to his previous duties.

In 2010, North Carolina Gov. Bev Perdue inducted Dellinger into the Order of the Long Leaf Pine, calling him "North Carolina’s best friend, legally, that we’ve ever had."[3]

In early 2012, with Dellinger representing the defendant in United States v. Antoine Jones, the US Supreme Court overruled the warrantless government use of a GPS device on Jones' Jeep Grand Cherokee. Dellinger said the decision in the drug case was "a signal event in Fourth Amendment history".[4]


  1. ^ Gary Emerling (2008-01-05). "Fenty arms self with new lawyer to defend gun ban". Washington Times.
  2. ^ Walter Dellinger (2010-03-05). "A shameful attack on the U.S. legal system". Washington Post. Archived from the original on 2010-03-09.
  3. ^ News & Observer: Perdue recognizes Dellinger
  4. ^ Bravin, Jess, "Justices Rein In Police on GPS Trackers", The Wall Street Journal, January 24, 2012. Retrieved 2012-01-24.

External links[edit]

Legal offices
Preceded by
Drew Days
Solicitor General of the United States

Succeeded by
Seth P. Waxman