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Solicitor General Hearing

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Tony Mauro reports for the NLJ (registration required) on the confirmation hearing for Solicitor General nominee Noel Francisco.  On one particularly important point: 

Asked by committee chairman Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, if he would be able to defend acts of Congress with which he personally disagreed, Francisco replied, "Absolutely, senator." He qualified the answer slightly, as past solicitors general have done, pledging he would defend statutes "whenever a reasonable argument can be made" in their favor, except for "the very narrow category" of laws that improperly impinge on the president's powers under Article II of the Constitution.

"Reasonable argument" has been defined with unreasonable narrowness by some SG's.  The most egregious case was Dickerson v. United States, regarding the statute that challenged the Miranda rule.  Reasonable arguments could be made defending that statute, and Bill, I, Paul Cassell, and the Fourth Circuit, among others, all made such arguments, but the Clinton Administration SG attacked the statute instead of defending it.

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