Jun 17, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Solicitor General Noel Francisco to step down from Justice Department

Solicitor General Noel Francisco in 2017.

Solicitor General Noel Francisco in 2017. Photo: Mark Wilson/Getty Images

Solicitor General Noel Francisco will leave his position at the Justice Department on July 3, the agency announced in a statement Wednesday.

Why it matters: Francisco has defended some of the Trump administration's most controversial policies before the Supreme Court, including its 2017 travel ban on people from multiple Muslim-majority counties, the New York Times reports.

The big picture: In 2018, Francisco argued before the Supreme Court that that federal law does not shield transgender workers from discrimination on the basis of their gender identity. The court ruled against the administration on Monday.

  • Francisco's tenure was overshadowed in part by special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation. He argued to the Supreme Court that redacted materials from the Mueller report should not be released in a case that is still ongoing.
  • Francisco also recently asked a panel to force District Judge Emmet Sullivan to grant the Justice Department’s motion to drop charges against former national security adviser Michael Flynn.

What's next: Francisco will be the second high-ranking official to leave the department in the coming months after Brian Benczkowski, the head of the department’s criminal division, announced Monday that he would leave in July.

  • One of Francisco’s deputies, Jeff Wall, will likely serve as acting solicitor general while the White House searches for a replacement, according to the NYT.

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