Supreme Court Institute Honors Solicitor General

April 29, 2013 — The annual end-of-term reception of Georgetown Law’s Supreme Court Institute celebrates the lawyers who serve as volunteer “justices” to help advocates prepare to argue before the Court. This year's event on April 25 also honored U.S. Solicitor General Donald B. Verrilli Jr.

 Verrilli, a former Law Center adjunct professor who assumed the SG role two years ago, has argued some of the Court’s most important recent cases, as former acting Solicitor General Walter Dellinger noted.

“The thing that astonishes, and frankly annoys, those of us in the Supreme Court bar, is the fact that the justices always receive his arguments with this hushed, almost sycophantic deference,” Dellinger told the crowd, which included Associate Justice Elena Kagan and leading lawyers of the Supreme Court bar.  

“All of us in the [courtroom] are thinking, seriously, interrupt him with a question! Even with a softball!” Dellinger joked. “But no; all nine of the justices are sitting there like dewy eyed teenagers at a Justin Bieber concert. … There is no lawyer in the nation’s capital more revered and respected than Don Verrilli. ”

Former Solicitor General and Adjunct Professor Paul Clement — who said that he would “resist the profound temptation to provide a rebuttal” — called Verrilli a “brave and fearless advocate.” 

Verrilli had high praise for the Institute. This year, for the first time, 100 percent of the cases heard by the Supreme Court were mooted first at Georgetown Law. “The Institute is just now an indisputable part of our legal culture,” Verrilli said, adding that he continues to “benefit enormously” from the work of Executive Director Irv Gornstein. “It makes such a huge contribution in improving advocacy before the Court and thereby shaping the development of the law. It’s really an amazing thing.” 

SCI Director Dori Bernstein, who introduced the event along with Dean William M. Treanor, honored several moot court volunteers who made the successful year possible, including attorney Bartow Farr, Professors Steve Goldblatt and Nina Pillard, and students Tarik Barrett (L’14), Sharon Dwoskin (L’14), Daniel Johnson (L’14) and Joe Rogan (L’14).