RIAA Lawyer to Replace Kagan as Solicitor General
President Obama has nominated Donald Verrilli to fill the post of Solicitor General, a position formerly held by Elena Kagan before she joined the Supreme Court. Verrilli, who is best known for his legal victory over file-sharing network Grokster at the Supreme Court level, is a former copyright lawyer currently serving as an associate White House counsel. In the Grokster case, Verrilli represented twenty-eight companies that sued Grokster for copyright infringement. Grokster was forced to shut down in 2005 following a $50 million settlement with movie studios, record labels, and music publishers. Following this victory and his involvement in other copyright-related cases, Verrilli joined the Department of Justice in 2009.
The Solicitor General is the main lawyer representing the U.S. Government before the Supreme Court, and also directly represents the President. The Solicitor General also plays a huge role in the Supreme Court’s decision on whether or not to take an appeal. While the Supreme Court only takes about one percent of the cases that are appealed to the highest court, the Court follows the recommendation of the Solicitor General about eighty percent of the time. If confirmed by the Senate, Verrilli would fill the position now held by Neal Kaytal, who became acting Solicitor General following Kagan’s departure.
If Verrilli is confirmed it could signify a period of stricter copyright enforcement in Washington, D.C. Verrilli has taken on and beaten copyright reform activists numerous times in court, and will now most likely become a huge influence on the Supreme Court. While he still must make it past confirmation, this will likely not be a significant obstacle since Verrilli has drawn much bipartisan support throughout his legal career. Aside from some copyright reform activists, the nomination should not generate much criticism for President Obama from either political camp.
For more on this story see: “Obama chooses solicitor general” by Jerry Markon at http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2011/01/24/AR2011012406370.html