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Tenth Justice: The Solicitor General and the Rule of Law

NCJ Number
L Caplan
Date Published
340 pages
The Solicitor General is one of the most important, yet least known, figures in American law.
The Office of the Solicitor General helps the U.S. Supreme Court choose cases, represents the Government before the Court, considers the potential impact of a case on the law, and is supposed to look beyond narrow Government interests. Based on interviews with U.S. Supreme Court justices, their law clerks, lawyers in the U.S. Justice Department, close observers of the courts and laws, and many who have held the office (including Charles Fried, the incumbent), this investigative study shows how the office of Solicitor General has been transformed in the 1980's into a controversial vehicle for the Reagan Administration's ideological goals. The office has been at the center of many deep changes that Ronald Reagan, Edwin Meese, and their colleagues have tried to bring about in such areas of law as abortion, school prayer, affirmative action, and busing. It is argued that the Administration has suggested an understanding of the Bill of Rights, judicial review, and other constitutional safeguards that is truly radical, has attempted to reduce the influence of the courts, and has used the office of Solicitor General as a means of advocating its own conservative social and political agenda. Index and chapter notes. (Publisher summary modified)