Solicitor General Noel Francisco Announces Departure from Department of Justice
Solicitor General of the United States Noel Francisco announces his departure from the Department of Justice, effective as of July 3, 2020.
“Solicitor General Noel Francisco has represented the United States superbly before the Supreme Court for the past three Terms,” said Attorney General William P. Barr. “Arguing before the Court 17 times on behalf of the federal government, he has been a principled and persuasive advocate on issues ranging from the separation of powers to religious liberty to vigorous enforcement of federal immigration law. His skilled advocacy has been instrumental to historic victories on behalf of the President’s national security authority, the free speech rights of public employees, and property owners’ access to federal courts, among many other significant accomplishments. Away from the courtroom, he has been a steady and respected leader for the Office of the Solicitor General, a wise counselor to me and others in the Executive Branch, and a good friend. I am grateful for his tireless service to his country and the Department of Justice, and I wish him well in his future endeavors.”
“It has been the honor of my professional career to serve as the Solicitor General of the United States,” said Solicitor General Noel Francisco. “Representing the United States before the Supreme Court is one of the greatest jobs in the law and an opportunity for which I am deeply grateful. I am proud of the significant success the Office of Solicitor General has had in advancing the rule of law of in our great nation alongside the dedicated men and women at the Department of Justice — some of the finest lawyers I have known.”
Since his appointment in 2017, Noel Francisco has served over three Supreme Court Terms as Solicitor General and has represented the United States before the nation’s highest court in more than 150 merit cases.
Under Solicitor General Francisco’s leadership, the United States consistently and successfully advocated in support of our nation’s core Constitutional principles including religious liberty, separation of powers, first amendment freedoms and enforcement of immigration laws. Over the course of his impressive tenure as Solicitor General, Francisco argued before the Supreme Court 17 times. Significant victories include:
- Trump v. Hawaii: upholding the President’s restrictions on travel from countries that present national-security risks.
- Janus v. AFSCME: holding that the First Amendment prohibits requiring public employees who decline to join a union to pay union dues (overruling a 1977 decision, Abood v. Detroit Bd. of Education).
- Kisor v. Wilkie: significantly limiting judicial deference to agency interpretations of their own regulations while retaining such deference in core applications.
- Knick v. Township of Scott: allowing property owners to bring claims for government takings in federal court without first suing in state court (overruling a 1985 decision, Williamson County Regional Planning Comm’n v. Hamilton Bank).
- Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Comm’n: concluding that Colorado violated the Free Exercise Clause in enforcing its antidiscrimination law against a baker who declined on religious grounds to create a custom cake for a same-sex wedding.
In overseeing federal litigation, Solicitor General Francisco made strategic use of emergency motions to defend important federal programs against improper nationwide injunctions. To that end, the government obtained relief from the Supreme Court on major immigration initiatives, including the travel proclamation, restrictions on asylum abuses, allocation of funds to build a border wall, and revisions to the definition of a public charge. As a result of these successes, some lower courts have begun to curb the erroneous use of nationwide injunctions.
The Office of the Solicitor General and entire Department of Justice thank Solicitor General Francisco’s service and leadership.