Who Is Elizabeth Prelogar? Here's What the Solicitor General Does

President Joe Biden will nominate Elizabeth Prelogar to serve as the next U.S. solicitor general, the fourth-most senior position in the Department of Justice and a key role in the administration's relationship with the Supreme Court.

Prelogar has been acting solicitor general for the past seven months and will now face a formal confirmation process in the Senate where her previous role in Special Counsel Robert Mueller's probe may become a topic of discussion.

The solicitor general is responsible for representing the federal government before the Supreme Court, determining the legal position the government will take in court and arguing on the government's behalf in almost every case to which the government is party.

The solicitor general is also responsible for reviewing decisions against the government in federal courts of appeal and federal district courts and deciding whether the government will appeal those rulings.

The role may prove particularly crucial for the Biden administration as the court now has a 6-3 conservative majority.

If Prelogar is confirmed, she will become only the second woman to serve as solicitor general.

Prelogar has been acting solicitor general since January and previously served as assistant to the solicitor general from 2014 to 2019.

She is a graduate of Harvard Law School and clerked for Attorney General Merrick Garland when he was a judge of the Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. She later clerked for the late Supreme Court Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Associate Justice Elena Kagan. Kagan was the first female solicitor general in U.S. history.

After clerking at the Supreme Court, Prelogar was an associate at law firm Hogan Lovells. Neal Katyal, former acting solicitor general in the Obama administration and a partner at Hogan Lovells, said of her: "Elizabeth is perhaps the best young lawyer with whom I have ever worked."

Prelogar served on Special Counsel Robert Mueller's team as he investigated Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election and alleged Russian ties to former President Donald Trump's campaign. She is fluent in Russian.

She left the public sector in early 2020 and became a partner at law firm Cooley LLP but returned to government service in January this year to take up the role as acting solicitor general.

Prelogar has argued nine cases before the Supreme Court, two of those as acting solicitor general, and over the past seven months she has moved the Biden administration away from positions adopted by the Trump administration on issues like asylum and the U.S.-Mexico border.

The Senate is evenly divided between Republicans and Democrats, while Vice President Kamala Harris has a deciding vote in the event of deadlock. There are no indications yet whether Prelogar's nomination will face strong opposition.

Newsweek has asked the White House for comment.

The Department of Justice Pictured in Washington
The U.S. Department of Justice is seen on June 11, 2021 in Washington, DC. President Joe Biden will nominate Acting Solicitor General Elizabeth Prelogar to serve in the role on a permanent basis. Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images