Elizabeth Prelogar, a Washington appellate lawyer who worked on the special counsel investigation into Russian election meddling, will serve temporarily as the top U.S. Supreme Court advocate for incoming President Joe Biden’s administration, according to a person who has been briefed on the plans.
Prelogar will be appointed in the next day or two as deputy solicitor general and will serve as acting solicitor general until the Senate confirms the new president’s nominee to fill the position permanently, said the person, who asked for anonymity to discuss the move before it is made public. Prelogar’s appointment was first reported by National Law Journal.
The solicitor general’s office will have to make a number of key decisions in the opening weeks of Biden’s presidency. Prelogar will have to decide how to handle lingering appeals pressed by President Donald Trump’s Justice Department, and she is likely to play a major role in shaping the new administration’s legal defense of its early initiatives.
Her position will be akin to that of Jeffrey Wall, who as acting solicitor general in 2017 coordinated the defense of Trump’s so-called travel ban, which barred entry into the U.S. from a group of mostly Muslim countries. After Noel Francisco was confirmed as solicitor general in September 2017, Wall served as Francisco’s deputy, before again becoming acting solicitor general last year.
Prelogar, currently a Washington appellate lawyer at Cooley LLP, previously served as an assistant in the solicitor general’s office and has argued seven Supreme Court cases. She “provided legal and strategic guidance” for Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation, according to her biography on the Cooley website.
Neither Prelogar nor the Biden transition office immediately responded to a request for comment.
“We are elated that Elizabeth will serve as the acting solicitor general of the United States,” said Michael Attanasio, chairman of Cooley’s litigation department, in an emailed statement. “As our partner at Cooley, we have witnessed firsthand her skilled advocacy, exceptional integrity, and strong dedication to the rule of law.”
(Updates with reaction from law firm, in seventh paragraph.)
--With assistance from Jennifer Epstein.
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