Ken Starr, Duane and Kelly Roberts Dean of the School of Law, spoke on the role of a solicitor general with a panel of former U.S. solicitors general on Dec. 8 in the Supreme Court Building in Washington, D.C. Watch the video on C-SPAN.
The panelists discussed the role of the solicitor general, the duties associated with the job, and arguing before the Supreme Court. Justice Anthony Kennedy made opening remarks, and Dean Starr was a panelist. More than 200 people, including Associate Justice Sonia Sotomayor, were in attendance.
The former solicitor generals spoke for this year's "National Heritage Lecture," an event jointly sponsored by the Supreme Court Historical Society, the United States Capitol Historical Society and the White House Historical Association.
In his comments, Dean Starr, who served from 1989 to 1993, said he had "underestimated the job," not realizing how much time he would spend in "conflict resolution," mediating between competing government entities that took opposite sides on pending cases.
Dean Starr has argued 36 cases before the Supreme Court. He is admitted to practice in California, Virginia, the District of Columbia, and the U.S. Supreme Court. In the 1970's, he clerked for The Honorable David W. Dyer of the U.S. Court of Appeals, Fifth Circuit, and for Chief Justice Warren E. Burger.
While in private practice, he was a partner at Kirkland & Ellis and Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher. In addition to working in the private sector, he has served as counselor to U.S. Attorney General William French Smith, judge for the U.S. Court of Appeals, D.C. Circuit, solicitor general of the United States, and independent counsel on the Whitewater matter. As solicitor general, he argued twenty-five cases before the Supreme Court.
Dean Starr is a member of numerous professional organizations and boards, including the American Law Institute, the Supreme Court Historical Society, and the American Inns of Court. His best-selling book, First Among Equals: The Supreme Court in American Life was published in 2002.