A quiet trickle of a rumor last week was that James C. Ho, currently of counsel with Gibson Dunn and a former law clerk to Justice Thomas at SCOTUS, has been tapped to serve as the next Solicitor General of Texas. If this is true, Texas will be in very capable hands as Jim Ho is certainly one of the best appellate lawyers in the state (and the country for that matter), and has demonstrated great and valuable political savvy on the national stage as well.
Moreover, it is interesting to note that, now, three of the four solicitors general have clerked for SCOTUS (Greg Coleman-Justice Thomas; Ted Cruz-the late Chief Rehnquist; and Jim Ho-Justice Thomas). A SCOTUS clerkship now appears to be a prerequisite to the post, which makes eminent sense because one of the OSG’s main functions is to represent the State before SCOTUS-a job we have noted current General Cruz has done extremely well.
That preliminary report appeared on Tuesday; the news is now confirmed. Here are press releases from the Texas Attorney General, Greg Abbott, and the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association, both praising Ho for his past achievements, and wishing him well in his latest endeavor.
Read more, after the jump.
What’s somewhat unusual about Ho’s legal career path is that he did his Supreme Court clerkship midstream, after he had already spent five years as a lawyer working in the political branches. According to the data on his LinkedIn profile, Ho finished his clerkship for Justice Thomas in July 2006….
The recency of that clerkship may, however, raise one small speed bump — the United States Supreme Court’s rule barring former clerks from participating in cases before that Court for two years from the end of their clerkship. Because Ho’s clerkship at the Court did not end until July 2006, he is barred (if I understand the rule) from any participation in the United States Supreme Court docket until late this summer. I’m confident that the Texas SG’s office has other lawyers capable of handling those duties until then.
Indeed — as Don Cruse well knows, having worked in that office himself before starting his own practice.
As for outgoing Texas SG Ted Cruz, it’s not clear where he’ll land. Given his stellar talents as an advocate, reflected in his huge recent win in the Medellin case, any firm would be lucky to have him. But we hear that private practice may just be a way station for him, on the way to what one source describes as “bigger and better — and more political — things…”
Once again, congratulations to Jim Ho on a fantastic new gig!
P.S. If you’d like to learn more facts about Jim, of a personal rather than professional nature — e.g., that he’s married to another fabulous former SCOTUS clerk, Allyson Newton Ho — check out our profile of him, back at Underneath Their Robes.
The next Solicitor General of Texas [Sophistic Miltonian Serbonian Blog]
New Texas SG [Supreme Court of Texas Blog]
Attorney General Abbott Appoints New Solicitor General [Texas Attorney General]
NAPABA Celebrates Appointment of James Ho as Solicitor General of Texas [NAPABA]
James C. Ho. bio [Gibson Dunn & Crutcher]
Justice Thomas’s OT 2005 Clerks [Underneath Their Robes]