Senate confirms Trump’s solicitor general Noel Francisco

Senators on Tuesday approved Noel Francisco to be solicitor general, giving President Trump a new chief courtroom lawyer just ahead of a packed Supreme Court term. The Senate’s 50-47 vote split along party lines, with Democrats objecting to the skilled Mr. Francisco, whose biggest victory in private practice was defeating former President Barack Obama’s attempted power grab over presidential recess appointments. Now, Mr. Francisco finds himself in the position of defending Mr. Trump, who is fighting a long list of court battles over everything from immigration to environmental policy. “From amnesty cities to DACA to travel bans to transgender bans, the Trump Administration faces defining moments before the court. It needs a solicitor general at the helm that supports its policies and priorities,” said Jonathan Turley, law professor at George Washington University. He said the confirmation will also bring needed relief to Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who has been leading the Justice Department with “a truly skeleton staff.” Mr. Francisco will now be able to help shape courtroom strategy for the department. Carrie Severino, chief counsel at the conservative Judicial Crisis Network, said Mr. Francisco will have his first test in three weeks when the Supreme Court hears oral arguments on the travel ban case Oct. 10, since Mr. Francisco previously worked with the Justice Department on it. “It’s a case he’s already familiar with,” she said. “I think it’s likely he’s actually arguing it.”

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