President Joe Biden has decided to tap Elizabeth Prelogar, the veteran appellate lawyer who has pursued the administration’s interests at the Supreme Court over the past seven months, to become solicitor General on a permanent basis, a White House official said Tuesday night.
Prelogar, a Harvard Law graduate and a former clerk to Attorney General Merrick Garland during his tenure as a judge on the D.C. Circuit, served as a prosecutor on the staff of special counsel Robert Mueller during his investigation into alleged ties between the Trump campaign and Russia.
Prelogar spent about five years as an attorney in the solicitor general’s office, some of that time in a dual role with Mueller’s team. She left government for a law firm early last year before returning to government in January to assume the job of acting solicitor general.
Biden’s unusually lengthy, almost-seven-month delay in making a nomination for the solicitor general post had drawn attention and concern among some Supreme Court watchers. They noted that the months of indecision was threatening to leave the key position lacking a permanent occupant when the justices open their next term with oral arguments in October.
It’s not clear what led to the delay in filling the high-ranking post, but some attorneys noted Prelogar’s ties to Garland and said the White House might have wished to consider candidates. One other person widely discussed for the job was California Supreme Court Justice Leondra Kruger.
In addition to Garland, Prelogar clerked for Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Elena Kagan.
Prelogar is fluent in Russian, which was reported to be one asset she brought to the work for Mueller.
Biden’s plan to nominate Prelogar was first reported by The Associated Press.
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