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President Selects White House Lawyer To Be Solicitor General

Donald Verrilli, Jr. in front of the U.S. Supreme Court in January 2007, two years before joining the Obama administration. Mark Wilson/Getty Images hide caption

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Mark Wilson/Getty Images

Donald Verrilli, Jr. in front of the U.S. Supreme Court in January 2007, two years before joining the Obama administration.

Mark Wilson/Getty Images

President Barack Obama is planning to nominate Deputy Counsel Donald Verrilli, 53, to the top legal advocacy job in the country — the job of representing the government in the U.S. Supreme Court.

Verrilli, a seasoned litigator and appellate advocate, would, if confirmed by the Senate, succeed Elena Kagan as solicitor general. Kagan left that job when she was confirmed for a spot on the Supreme Court last summer. Since then her deputy, Neal Katyal, has been serving as the acting solicitor general.

Before joining the Obama administration in 2009, Verrilli participated in 100 Supreme Court cases and argued 12. His specialty is intellectual property. But he also has devoted considerable time to pro-bono death penalty appeals.

In the Obama administration, he served first as associate deputy attorney general, so impressing white house officials with his good judgement that they asked him to serve as associate White House counsel last year.