The task of the Office of the Solicitor General is to supervise and conduct government litigation in the United States Supreme Court. Virtually all such litigation is channeled through the Office of the Solicitor General and is actively conducted by the Office. The United States is involved in approximately two-thirds of all the cases the U.S. Supreme Court decides on the merits each year.
The Solicitor General determines the cases in which Supreme Court review will be sought by the government and the positions the government will take before the Court. The Office's staff attorneys, Deputy Solicitors General and Assistants to the Solicitor General, participate in preparing the petitions, briefs, and other papers filed by the government in the Supreme Court. The Solicitor General conducts the oral arguments before the Supreme Court. Those cases not argued by the Solicitor General personally are assigned either to an Assistant to the Solicitor General or to another government attorney. The vast majority of government cases are argued by the Solicitor General or one of the office attorneys.
Another responsibility of the Office is to review all cases decided adversely to the government in the lower courts to determine whether they should be appealed and, if so, what position should be taken. Moreover, the Solicitor General determines whether the government will participate as an amicus curiae, or intervene, in cases in any appellate court.
Forty-five distinguished Americans have previously served as Solicitor General.
Learn more about these honored individuals: Solicitors General Throughout History
Updated: August 2011