Panel backs solicitor-general nominee
The Senate Judiciary Committee approved three high-profile picks Thursday for the Justice Department, including Noel Francisco to be solicitor general, thrusting him directly into the middle of a number of major court cases the Trump administration is already fighting.
Mr. Francisco will be the government’s advocate before the Supreme Court if confirmed by the full Senate.
He cleared the committee on a party-line vote, 11-9, with Democrats saying they were looking for someone who would stand up to President Trump within the department.
Sen. Dianne Feinstein, the ranking Democrat, said she was particularly eager to see someone who wouldn’t defend Mr. Trump’s vetting executive order that halts most admissions from six terrorist-connected countries.
As acting solicitor general early in the administration, Mr. Francisco signed briefs justifying the first version of the executive order.
“I am concerned he will approach his role as President Trump’s solicitor general and not the solicitor general of the United States,” Ms. Feinstein said.
Mr. Francisco won a decisive 9-0 victory over President Obama over recess appointments, fought the administration to a draw on the Obamacare contraceptive mandate and won the release of former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell after convincing the justices that the corruption charges were bogus.