Federal Government

Biden's new picks for solicitor general and Manhattan US attorney once clerked for AG Garland

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AG Merrick Garland

U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland. Photo from the White House.

President Joe Biden’s new nominees for U.S. solicitor general and for U.S. attorney in Manhattan, New York City, both clerked for U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland when he was a federal appeals judge, and both clerked for U.S. Supreme Court justices.

Biden nominated Elizabeth Prelogar to be solicitor general and nominated Damian Williams as the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, according to White House announcements here and here.

Prelogar has served as acting solicitor general since January and was an assistant to the solicitor general from 2014 to 2019, according to the announcement and stories by Law360, the Associated Press, Bloomberg Law and Law.com. She also worked on the Russia election interference investigation led by former special counsel Robert Mueller.

After graduating from Harvard Law School, Prelogar clerked for Garland and then completed Supreme Court clerkships for Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Elena Kagan. She is also a former Cooley partner and a former Hogan Lovells associate.

Prelogar argued seven Supreme Court cases as an assistant to the solicitor general and two Supreme Court cases as acting solicitor general. According to Law.com, those two arguments “received high marks from her colleagues in the Supreme Court bar.”

Prelogar would be the second woman to lead the solicitor general’s office. Kagan was the first.

Williams is one of eight nominees for U.S. attorney positions made by Biden on Tuesday. Williams would be the first Black person to lead the federal prosecution office in Manhattan if he is confirmed, report Bloomberg Law, Law360 and the New York Times.

Williams is currently an assistant U.S. attorney in the Southern District of New York, where he has served as chief of the office’s Securities and Commodities Fraud Task Force since 2018.

After his graduation from Yale Law School, Williams clerked for Garland and then for Justice John Paul Stevens on the Supreme Court. Before joining the U.S. attorney’s office, Williams was a litigation associate at Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison.

Other U.S. attorney nominees are:

• Breon Peace, a partner at Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton, for the Eastern District of New York

• Carla Freedman, assistant U.S. attorney, for the Northern District of New York

• Jessica Aber, assistant U.S. attorney, for the Eastern District of Virginia

• William Ihlenfeld II, special counsel at Bowles Rice, for the Northern District of West Virginia

• Christopher Kavanaugh, senior counsel to the deputy attorney general at the U.S. Department of Justice, for the Western District of Virginia

• Darcie McElwee, assistant U.S. attorney, for the District of Maine

• Judge William Thompson of West Virginia, for the Southern District of West Virginia

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