A.B., Dartmouth College; J.D., Yale
Areas of Expertise:
McDonough Hall 5th Floor
Neal Katyal, the Paul Saunders Professor at Georgetown University and the former Acting Solicitor General of the United States, focuses on Constitutional Law, Criminal Law, and Intellectual Property. He is a best selling New York Times author, and has spent the last three years serving as Special Prosecutor for the State of Minnesota in the murder of George Floyd. In December 2017, American Lawyer magazine named him The Litigator of the Year; he was chosen from all the lawyers in the United States. At the age of 52, he has also already argued more Supreme Court cases in U.S. history than has any minority attorney, recently breaking the record held by Thurgood Marshall. He has argued 48 cases before the Supreme Court of the United States, with his 49th and 50th coming up in March and April of this year.
Neal has extensive experience in matters of constitutional, technology, corporate, patent, securities, criminal, employment, and tribal law. In the most recent 2022-23 term alone, Neal is arguing five separate cases at the Supreme Court – nearly 10% of the docket. Neal has argued major Supreme Court cases involving a variety of issues, such as his successful defense of the constitutionality of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, his victorious defense of former Attorney General John Ashcroft for alleged abuses in the war on terror, his unanimous victory against 8 states who sued the nation’s leading power plants for contributing to global warming, his attack on Donald Trump’s “travel ban,” and a variety of other matters. As Acting Solicitor General, Katyal was responsible for representing the federal government of the United States in all appellate matters before the U.S. Supreme Court and the Courts of Appeals throughout the nation. Neal was also the only head of the Solicitor General’s office to argue a case in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, on the important question of whether certain aspects of the human genome were patentable.
While teaching at Georgetown, Katyal won Hamdan v. Rumsfeld in the United States Supreme Court, a case that challenged the policy of military trials at Guantanamo Bay Naval Station, Cuba. The Supreme Court sided with him by a 5-3 vote, finding that President Bush’s tribunals violated the constitutional separation of powers, domestic military law, and international law. As former Solicitor General and Duke law professor Walter Dellinger put it “Hamdan is simply the most important decision on presidential power and the rule of law ever. Ever.” An expert in matters of constitutional law, Katyal has embraced his theoretical work as the platform for practical consequences in the federal courts. He has also served as a visiting professor at both Harvard and Yale law schools.
Katyal previously served as National Security Adviser in the U.S. Justice Department and was commissioned by President Clinton to write a report on the need for more legal pro bono work. He also served as Vice President Al Gore’s co-counsel in the Supreme Court election dispute of 2000, and represented the Deans of most major private law schools in the landmark University of Michigan affirmative-action case Grutter v. Bollinger (2003). Katyal clerked for Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer as well as Judge Guido Calabresi of the U.S. Court of Appeals. He attended Dartmouth College and Yale Law School. His Articles have appeared in virtually every major law review and newspaper in America.
Neal is the recipient of the very highest award given to a civilian by the U.S. Department of Justice, the Edmund Randolph Award, which the Attorney General presented to him in 2011. The Chief Justice of the United States appointed him in 2011 (and again in 2014) to the Advisory Committee on Federal Appellate Rules. Among other honors, Neal was named as one of the 500 Leading Lawyers by LawDragon Magazine (one of 4 lawyers so named for every single year since 2005 to 2023); one of the 500 Most Influential People in Washington DC by Washingtonian Magazine (2022); Appellate MVP by Law360 numerous times; winner of Financial Times Innovative Lawyer Award in two different categories (both private and public law) (2017), one of GQ’s Men of the Year (2017), 40 Most Influential Lawyers of the Last Decade Nationwide by National Law Journal (2010), and 90 Greatest Washington Lawyers Over the Last 30 Years by Legal Times (2008). Neal also won the National Law Journal’s pro bono award in 2004. He has appeared on virtually every major American news program, as well as on Stephen Colbert’s Late Show. He has also performed on Netflix’s House of Cards and Showtime’s Billions (where he played himself in both series).In 2021, Neal was named a Trustee of Dartmouth College. In 2022, he was named a Trustee of the Whitney Museum in New York City.
U.S. Supreme Court Briefs
Book Chapters & Collected Works
"FAS and SNF Agora organize debate on the role of the Supreme Court," coverage in The Johns Hopkins News-Letter, April 13, 2023, featuring Professor Neal Katyal.
"Trump Case May Not Go to Trial Until After 2024 Election, Experts Say," coverage in Time, March 31, 2023, featuring Professor Neal Katyal.
"“Sleeper case”: Experts say Trump indictment in Manhattan is "imminent" — and it's "pardon-proof"," coverage in Salon, March 10, 2023, featuring Professor Neal Katyal.
"Legislators’ redistricting arguments would ‘wreak havoc,’ critics tell U.S. Supreme Court," coverage in The Carolina Journal, October 19, 2022, featuring Professor Neal Katyal.