On March 7, 2017, the White House announced that President Donald Trump will nominate Noel J. Francisco to be the next Solicitor General of the United States [link]. Francisco is currently the Acting Solicitor General.
The Solicitor General is an official of the United States Department of Justice who is responsible for representing the federal government before the Supreme Court of the United States. The Solicitor General is an important official in the immigration law context because he or she is tasked with representing the federal government's position in immigration cases and in other cases that implicate immigration law.
The White House press release discusses Francisco's stellar resume. After graduating with honors from the University of Chicago Law School, Francisco clerked for Judge J. Michael Luttig of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit. After that clerkship, he then clerked for Justice Antonin Scalia of the Supreme Court of the United States. During the George W. Bush Administration, Francisco served in various capacities in the Department of Justice. From 2001 to 2003, Francisco was the Associate Counsel to the President, and from 2003 to 2005, he served as Deputy Assistant Attorney General in the Office of Legal Counsel. Subsequent to his service in the Bush Administration, Francisco went into private practice and eventually argued numerous high profile cases before the Supreme Court. Most notably, Francisco argued the winning side of NLRB v. Noel Canning, 579 U.S. __, 189 (2014) [PDF version], wherein the Supreme Court issued a landmark decision curtailing the President's recess appointment powers.
In an interesting note, Jonathan H. Adler notes on the Volokh Conspiracy blog hosted by The Washington Post that Francisco “has been critical of the Chevron doctrine” [PDF version].1 Adler noted to testimony that Francisco gave before the Senate Judiciary Committee in 2011, when he suggested that Chevron has caused courts to become too deferential to agency interpretations of statutes. To learn more about the Chevron doctrine and the debate over whether it should continue in its current form, please see our post on an opinion offered by President Trump's nominee for the Supreme Court, Judge Neil Gorsuch [see blog on Judge Gorsuch's overall record], on the subject of Chevron [see blog on Judge Gorsuch's opinion].
Noel Francisco's resume suggests that he is well qualified to be the next Solicitor General. The Senate would be wise to confirm him to his new post expeditiously.