Thursday, October 27, 2011
It would be hard for any lawyer to fathom a more riveting caseload than the one Paul D. Clement carried during his seven years in President George W. Bush’s Justice Department.
As solicitor general for three years and deputy solicitor for four, Mr. Clement appeared before the Supreme Court 49 times, defended the administration’s detention of terrorism suspects, fought off challenges to the McCain-Feingold campaign finance law and validated the prosecution of medical marijuana growers in a landmark commerce case.
But if possible, the docket that Mr. Clement has compiled in the private sector as one of Washington’s leading appellate litigators may situate him even closer to the center of national discourse.
At the moment, he is defending both Arizona’s tough new law against illegal immigration and Congress’s prohibition against federal recognition of same-sex marriages. And if, as expected, the Supreme Court soon announces that it will hear a challenge to last year’s health care law, it seems increasingly likely that it will be Mr. Clement who argues, in the thick of the 2012 campaign, that President Obama’s signature domestic achievement is unconstitutional.