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Elizabeth Prelogar confirmed as solicitor general ahead of Supreme Court battles over abortion, guns

The Senate confirmed Elizabeth Prelogar as solicitor general Thursday. The vote was 53 to 36.
The Senate confirmed Elizabeth Prelogar as solicitor general Thursday. The vote was 53 to 36. (Handout/Reuters)

The Senate on Thursday confirmed Elizabeth B. Prelogar as solicitor general, the federal government’s top advocate at the Supreme Court.

Prelogar, a veteran appellate attorney, is the second woman to hold the position and will lead the office at a time when the high court is weighing hotly contested issues, including abortion and gun rights in just the next week.

Following her confirmation on a vote of 53 to 36, Prelogar will be in position Monday to represent the Biden administration at the Supreme Court in its challenge to the nation’s most restrictive abortion law, which bars the procedure in Texas after about six weeks into pregnancy.

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Prelogar was an adviser to special counsel Robert S. Mueller III during his investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 election. She previously served in the solicitor general’s office and has argued nine times before the Supreme Court, including twice last year.

In addition to presenting the government’s views at the high court, the solicitor general is responsible for the department’s appellate strategy and for deciding whether the government will support a particular side in cases where the federal government has an interest.

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Prelogar is a former law clerk to Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Elena Kagan, the first woman to serve as solicitor general. Before that, Prelogar was a law clerk for Attorney General Merrick Garland during his tenure as a judge on the appeals court in D.C.

From January until her nomination in August, Prelogar had held the solicitor general’s post on an acting basis.

This month, the Senate Judiciary Committee advanced Prelogar’s nomination on a 13-to-9 vote.

“While her credentials are impeccable and her advocacy record impressive, what stands out even more about Ms. Prelogar is her commitment to providing unbiased legal advice, her dedication to safeguarding the role of career attorneys within the [Justice] Department, and her demonstrated ability to advance legal arguments separate and apart from her own beliefs,” Sen. Richard J. Durbin (D-Ill.), the Judiciary Committee’s chairman, said during the hearing.