Showing that increased politicization of the Justice Department makes the work of the nation's lawyer an integral component of executive policy-making


The Solicitor General

The Politics of Law

Rebecca Mae Salokar

paper EAN: 978-1-56639-260-0 (ISBN: 1-56639-260-8)
$31.95, Jul 94, Out of Stock Unavailable
cloth EAN: 978-0-87722-926-1 (ISBN: 0-87722-926-0)
$64.50, Jun 92, Out of Stock Unavailable
250 pp 6x9

"[T]he most comprehensive work thus far available on the executive branch's representative in Supreme Court litigation....What makes Salokar's book so important and...makes it stand alone in the literature on the solicitor general's role in the litigation process is that she demonstrates through careful, empirical analysis how the office has been used to advance the political and policy objectives of presidential administrations over time."
American Political Science Review

A frequently overlooked institution of American politics, the Office of the Solicitor General is responsible for all litigation before the U.S. Supreme Court on behalf of the executive branch. In carrying out this task, the solicitor general is also an advisor to the justices and a gatekeeper, controlling a large portion of litigation that reaches the Court's docket. Rebecca Salokar studies this office and shows that, with the increased politicization of the Justice Department, the work of the nation's lawyer is an integral component of executive policy-making.

Paying particular attention to the selection of solicitors general and the political and legal environment in which they functioned, Salokar analyzes all Supreme Court cases in which the government was a participant from 1959 through 1986. Her interviews with several former solicitors general and members of their staffs provide contextual examples to support the statistical analyses. She demonstrates that this office can and does shape policy questions for the United States. While the relationship between the judicial and executive branches has been defined traditionally through the nomination of justices to the Court, Salokar reveals that another, more frequently used, link between the two branches exists in the Office of the Solicitor General.


"Salokar's book is quite simply the best scholarly study to date of the solicitor general."

"I know of no comparable scholarly study of the Solicitor General.... The unique set of quantitative data on the U.S. government cases that Salokar collected and analyzed...illuminates some of the important patterns in the decisions and success of the Solicitor General."
Lawrence Baum, Ohio State University

Read a review from Law & Politics Book Review, Volume 3.6 (Jun 1993).


Introduction: The Government's Lawyer
1. An Overview of the Office of the Solicitor General of the United States
2. The Cream of the Crop: The Fifth Floor of Justice
3. Untangling the Bramblebush: External Demands and Influences
4. Vested Interests: The Government as a Party Before the Supreme Court
5. Friend of the Court: The Government as Amicus
6. The Dilemma of Serving Two Masters: Strategies for Individual Rights Cases
Conclusion: The Balancing Act: The Solicitor General and American Politics
Appendix A: Solicitors General of the United States
Appendix B: Organizational Charts
Appendix C: Data Collection


About the Author(s)

Rebecca Mae Salokar is Associate Professor of Political Science at Florida International University.

Subject Categories

Political Science and Public Policy
Law and Criminology


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