Some Interesting Solicitor General Facts

Did you know that the Solicitor General’s office (in the United States) was formed by Congress in 1870? The reason for this newly created office was to simplify things; basically so that all government litigation would be handled from ONE office rather than having lawyers distributed throughout a bunch of different offices and departments. Of course, as you can imagine, the office has grown since then, with about a couple of dozen attorneys now. Still, when you think of it, that’s still a pretty minute number of people working on cases when you figure that some law firms have that many on staff in a single firm!

The United States Solicitor General gets appointed by the President, but still has to be confirmed the US Senate. Now, since this position is appointed by the President, as you might guess, it’s the Solicitor General’s duty to advocate for the government and handles appeals BY the government TO the Supreme Court. In other words, if the Supreme Court has ruled AGAINST the government, the Solicitor General’s task would be to get the Court to review such cases.

The very first US Solicitor General was Benjamin Helm Bristow, under President Ulysses S. Grant, who gave Bristow permission to prosecute a nasty tax evasion scandal that included politicians and government officials who had made off with millions of dollars of US tax revenue. Before that however, he broke up the ring without the President or the Attorney General knowing – he had to be very careful, because this ring (which became known as the Whiskey Ring, and which depleted the national treasury of millions of dollars – although some $3 million were finally recovered) was extremely powerful.

So, if nothing else, this should tell you that political corruption is nothing new!