Trump to Pick Noel Francisco as Solicitor General

Donald Trump
U.S. President Donald Trump reacts during a news conference at the White House in Washington, U.S., February 16, 2017. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

President Donald Trump is to nominate Washington lawyer Noel Francisco for the position of solicitor general, the government's top advocate before the U.S. Supreme Court, according to two sources familiar with the hiring process.

Francisco, who has been serving in an acting capacity in the job, is a lawyer with strong conservative credentials who previously worked at the Jones Day law firm.

White House Counsel Don McGahn is one of several other Jones Day lawyers who have joined the administration.

One source spoke on Tuesday and the other on Monday.

Francisco has argued three high-profile cases at the Supreme Court.

Most recently, he represented Republican former Virginia Governor Robert McDonnell in a successful attempt to throw out corruption convictions. The court in June ruled 8-0 in favor of McDonnell.

In another case decided last year, he represented religious non-profits that sought an exemption from a provision of the Obamacare health law that requires employers to provide women workers with health insurance that includes contraception coverage. The high court in May sidestepped a major ruling in that case by sending it back to a lower court.

In the third case, Francisco led a business industry-led challenge to presidential appointment powers, resulting in a 2014 ruling that limited the ability of the White House to fill positions without Senate approval.

Francisco served as a White House lawyer from 2001 to 2003 and spent another two years in the Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel from 2003 to 2005. Both jobs were during the administration of President George W. Bush. He clerked for conservative Justice Antonin Scalia on the Supreme Court.