Paul Clement

This article is about the former United States Solicitor General. For the English football coach, see Paul Clement (football coach).
Paul Clement
43rd Solicitor General of the United States
In office
July 11, 2004  June 19, 2008
Acting: July 11, 2004 – June 13, 2005
President George W. Bush
Preceded by Ted Olson
Succeeded by Gregory Garre
Principal Deputy Solicitor General of the United States
In office
January 2001  July 11, 2004
President George W. Bush
Preceded by Barbara Underwood
Succeeded by Daryl Joseffer
Personal details
Born Paul Drew Clement
(1966-06-24) June 24, 1966
Cedarburg, Wisconsin, U.S.
Political party Republican
Alma mater Georgetown University
Darwin College, Cambridge
Harvard University

Paul Drew Clement (born June 24, 1966) is a former United States Solicitor General and current Georgetown University law professor. He is also an adjunct professor at New York University School of Law. He was nominated by President George W. Bush on March 14, 2005 for the post of Solicitor-General, confirmed by the United States Senate on June 8, 2005, and took the oath of office on June 13. Clement replaced Theodore Olson.

Clement resigned on May 14, 2008, effective June 2, 2008, and joined the Georgetown University Law Center as a visiting professor and senior fellow at the Supreme Court Institute.[1]

Early life and education

Clement was born to Jean and Jerry Clement, and he had two brothers and a sister. Clement is a native of Cedarburg, Wisconsin. In 1984 he graduated from Cedarburg High School, where he was on the debate team. He received his bachelor's degree summa cum laude from the Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University, and a master's degree in economics from Darwin College, University of Cambridge. While at Georgetown, Clement successfully competed in the American Parliamentary Debate Association. He received his J.D. degree magna cum laude from Harvard Law School[2] where he was the Supreme Court editor of the Harvard Law Review.[3]

Following graduation, Clement clerked for Judge Laurence H. Silberman of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit and for Associate Justice Antonin Scalia of the U.S. Supreme Court. After his clerkships, he worked as an associate in the Washington, D.C. office of Kirkland & Ellis. Clement went on to serve as Chief Counsel of Subcommittee on the Constitution, Federalism and Property Rights of the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee. Afterwards, he was a partner in the Washington, D.C., office of King & Spalding, where he headed the firm's appellate practice. He also served from 1998 to 2004 as an Adjunct Professor at the Georgetown University Law Center, where he taught a seminar on the separation of powers.

Clement joined the United States Department of Justice in February 2001. Before his confirmation as Solicitor General, he served as Principal Deputy Solicitor General, and he became the acting Solicitor General on July 11, 2004 when Theodore Olson resigned. He has argued over 53 cases before the United States Supreme Court, including McConnell v. FEC, Tennessee v. Lane, Rumsfeld v. Padilla, United States v. Booker, Hamdi v. Rumsfeld, Rumsfeld v. FAIR, Hamdan v. Rumsfeld, Gonzales v. Raich, Gonzales v. Oregon, Gonzales v. Carhart, Hein v. Freedom From Religion Foundation, and Sekhar v. United States. He also argued many of the key cases in the lower courts involving challenges to the Bush administration's conduct of the war on terrorism.[4] He has argued more cases before the Supreme Court since 2000 than any other lawyer.[5]

On August 27, 2007, President Bush named Clement as the future acting Attorney General of the United States, to take office upon the resignation of Alberto Gonzales, effective September 17, 2007.[6] According to administration officials, Clement took that office at 12:01 AM September 17, 2007, and left office 24 hours later.[7] On September 17, President Bush announced that Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Division, Peter Keisler would become acting Attorney General, pending a permanent appointment of a presidential nominee.[8][9]

Clement gave notice of his resignation on May 14, 2008, effective June 2, 2008, and returned to Georgetown University Law Center as a senior fellow.[1] He had been mentioned as a possible Supreme Court candidate in a John McCain presidency[1] and is a coveted potential hire among DC legal firms, who reportedly are vying to build a firm around his expertise in appellate matters.[10] Evan Tager of Mayer Brown said: “Paul Clement is the Holy Grail of law firm recruiting... The buzz in the legal world about Clement is like the buzz in basketball when LeBron James was coming out of high school and turning pro. It will be interesting to see where the market will go.”[10]

As of November 20, 2008, Clement re-joined King & Spalding as a partner in its expanding appellate litigation practice. As part of King & Spalding he argued on behalf of the NRA in the Supreme Court case McDonald v. Chicago on March 2, 2010.[11]

Clement was part of the legal team that represented players in the NBA in labor negotiations during the 2011 lockout. Clement also advised 10 NFL players in the spring of 2011 when the NFL was facing a potential lock-out.[12]

As a partner at King & Spalding, Clement was hired in April 2011 by the Republican majority in the U.S. House of Representatives to defend the Defense of Marriage Act, a law that federally defines marriage as between one man and one woman, after the U.S. Department of Justice decided to stop defending it.[13] King & Spalding withdrew from the case on April 25, 2011, and Clement resigned from the firm to continue his representation, arguing that "representation should not be abandoned because the client's legal position is extremely unpopular in certain quarters."[14]

Clement joined Bancroft PLLC, a smaller law firm led by former Assistant Attorney General Viet D. Dinh.[15][16]

Clement led the challenge on behalf of 26 states to overturn the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act in the Supreme Court on March 26–28, 2012. The Court upheld the "individual mandate" as a tax, but found the States could not be compelled to accept the portion of the law relating to Medicaid expansion.

On March 27, 2013, Clement served for the respondent Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group of the United States House of Representatives at the Supreme Court in United States v. Windsor. On June 26, 2013, the Court ruled against Clement and BLAG by finding the Defense of Marriage Act to be unconstitutional.

According to SCOTUSblog, Clement made the second most number of appearances before the U.S. Supreme Court, with a total of 7 during the October Term 2012 and a lifetime total of 69.[17] Only U.S. Solicitor General Donald B. Verrilli, Jr. appeared more times before the U.S. Supreme Court during October Term 2012, with 8 appearances and a lifetime total of 29.[17]

Clement was mentioned as a potential Supreme Court nominee of Republican presidential nominees John McCain and Mitt Romney.[1][18] Along with federal appellate judges Brett Kavanaugh and Diane Sykes, Clement is considered a likely Supreme Court nominee if a Republican wins the 2016 presidential election.[19]

See also


  1. 1 2 3 4 Biskupic, Joan (October 23, 2008). "For divided high court, two potential legacies". USA Today. Retrieved 2008-10-25.
  2. "Atty. Paul Andrew Clement, Attorney". Retrieved November 17, 2015.
  3. "Paul D. Clement - Bancroft". Retrieved 11 January 2015. External link in |website= (help)
  4. Blum, Vanessa. "Point Man: Paul Clement leads the charge in defending the administration's tactics in the war on terror", Legal Times, January 16, 2004
  5. Bhatia, Kedar (April 17, 2011). "Updated Advocate Scorecard (OT00-10)". DailyWrit. Retrieved 2011-11-30.
  6. Meyers, Steven Lee (August 27, 2007). "Embattled Attorney General Resigns". The New York Times. Retrieved 2007-08-27.
  7. Eggen, Dan; Elizabeth Williamson (September 19, 2007). "Democrats May Tie Confirmation to Gonzales Papers". Washington Post. pp. A10. Retrieved 2007-09-19.
  8. "President Bush Announces Judge Michael Mukasey as Nominee for Attorney General", White House press release, September 17, 2007
  9. (Associated Press) (September 17, 2007). "Bush Text on Attorney General Nomination". New York Times. Retrieved 2007-09-18.
  10. 1 2 Slater, Dan (2008-10-27). "Paul Clement: The LeBron James of Law Firm Recruiting". The Wall Street Journal Law Blog. Retrieved 2008-10-27.
  11. "Transcript of Oral Arguments in McDonald v. Chicago" (pdf). US Supreme Court. March 2010. Retrieved 2010-03-02. PAUL D. CLEMENT, ESQ., Washington, D.C.; for Respondents National Rifle Association, Inc., et al., in support of Petitioners.
  12. Sack, Kevin (October 27, 2011). "Lawyer Opposing Health Law Is Familiar Face to the Justices". New York Times. Retrieved 2011-10-27.
  13. Camia, Catalina (April 18, 2011). "Boehner seeks to divert funds for gay marriage fight". USA Today. Retrieved April 18, 2011.
  14. "Paul Clement Resignation Letter" (PDF). Retrieved April 25, 11. Check date values in: |access-date= (help)
  15. "Clement Quits King & Spalding Over Marriage Act Decision". Bloomberg News.
  16. "Paul D. Clement, Partner, Bancroft PLLC".
  17. 1 2
  18. Ingram, David (19 April 2012). "Analysis: A Romney pick for top U.S. court? Frontrunners emerge". Reuters. Retrieved 29 April 2014.
  19. Toobin, Jeffrey (18 March 2014). "THE SUPREME COURT FARM TEAM". New Yorker. Retrieved 29 April 2014.
Legal offices
Preceded by
Ted Olson
Solicitor General of the United States
Succeeded by
Gregory Garre
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