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Factbox: Lawyers in the Supreme Court healthcare arguments

2012-03-27 1
   
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résuméWASHINGTON The U.S. Supreme Court will hear historic arguments from Monday over the fate of President Barack Obama's sweeping overhaul of America's healthcare system, a landmark case that tests the constitutional limits of the federal government's po
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Factbox: Lawyers in the Supreme Court healthcare arguments


WASHINGTON The U.S. Supreme Court will hear historic arguments from Monday over the fate of President Barack Obama's sweeping overhaul of America's healthcare system, a landmark case that tests the constitutional limits of the federal government's powers.

Following are brief backgrounds of the main attorneys who will argue in the high-stakes showdown scheduled before the high court over three days:

U.S. Solicitor General Donald Verrilli, representing the Obama administration:

Verrilli, 54, who was born in New York state and grew up in Connecticut, previously worked as deputy White House counsel before Obama named him to be the U.S. government's top lawyer before the Supreme Court. Verrilli was approved by the U.S. Senate on a 72-16 vote in June, making this his first Supreme Court term to argue cases as solicitor general. Verrilli had been a partner in the Washington office of the law firm Jenner & Block until 2009, when he was named associate deputy attorney general at the U.S. Justice Department, focusing on domestic and national security policy issues. At the White House, Verrilli dealt with issues that included healthcare, immigration, financial regulation and the Gulf of Mexico oil spill. In private practice for more than 20 years, he specialized in telecommunications, First Amendment and intellectual property law. He also argued a number of cases about the rights of criminal defendants and represented death-row prisoners on a pro-bono basis. Before becoming solicitor general, Verrilli participated in more than 100 cases before the Supreme Court and argued 12. A graduate of the Columbia Law School in New York, Verrilli served as a law clerk for Supreme Court Justice William Brennan.

Paul Clement, arguing for 26 states challenging the law:

Clement, a 45-year-old Wisconsin native, was solicitor general during George W. Bush's presidency and has been mentioned as a possible Supreme Court nominee in a future Republican administration. A graduate of Harvard Law School, he was a classmate of Obama. After graduation in 1992, Clement served as a law clerk to Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, who remains on the bench and is sure to be an active questioner in the healthcare arguments. In the Supreme Court's current term, Clement has a number of high-profile cases, arguing on behalf of Texas Republican officials in January in a dispute over drawing election districts and arguing next month on behalf of Arizona's Republican governor in defending that state's tough immigration law. Clement resigned from the King & Spalding law firm in April last year when it stopped its work defending a law that bars the federal government from recognizing same-sex marriages. House Republicans had enlisted Clement to argue for the law after the Obama administration decided not to defend it. Clement, a veteran of more than 50 Supreme Court arguments, then joined two of his former law school classmates at a smaller law firm, Bancroft PLLC. Among his other cases, Clement is representing the state of South Carolina in a bid to uphold a new law requiring photo identification to vote and is part of a legal challenge to Obama's recess appointments to the National Labor Relations Board. During Bush's presidency, Clement served as deputy solicitor general and was the administration's top lawyer before the Supreme Court between 2004 and 2008. He defended the administration's anti-terrorism policies.

Michael Carvin, representing the National Federation of Independent Business in challenging the law:

Carvin, a partner at Jones Day law firm, argued before the Florida Supreme Court on behalf of George W. Bush in the 2000 legal battle against Democrat Al Gore over the vote recount in the state. Carvin, who held various U.S. Justice Department positions during Ronald Reagan's presidency, has focused on constitutional, appellate, civil rights and civil litigation against the federal government. A graduate of the George Washington University law school, Carvin has five prior Supreme Court appearances. He argued the constitutional challenge to the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board, a board created in 2002 by the U.S. Congress to police corporate auditors. The Supreme Court in 2010 struck down part of the law, but said the unconstitutional provision could be separated from the rest of the law. Carvin opposed Justice Department efforts to obtain money awards from the tobacco industry under the racketeering law and supported Proposition 209's ban on racial preferences in California.

Robert Long, a Supreme Court-appointed attorney:

A partner in the Washington office of Covington and Burling, Long was appointed by the Supreme Court. He will argue that the legal challenges to the requirement that Americans obtain heath insurance must wait until after that provision takes effect in 2014. Long, who has argued 16 cases before the Supreme Court, was a law clerk to Supreme Court Justice Lewis Powell after graduating from Yale Law School in 1985. He was an assistant to the solicitor general from 1990 to 1993.

H. Bartow Farr III, a Supreme Court-appointed attorney:

Farr, a partner at Farr & Taranto, will argue that if the government cannot require people to buy health insurance, all other provisions of the law can survive. That was the ruling by a U.S. appeals court that decided the case. The administration has taken a different view and said that without the mandate, two other critical provisions would also have to fall. They bar insurers from refusing to cover a person because of a pre-existing medical condition and from charging higher premiums based on a person's medical history. Farr, 67, a New York native, served as a law clerk to then-Supreme Court Justice William Rehnquist in the early 1970s. A veteran appellate lawyer who worked in the solicitor general's office from 1976 to 1978, he has argued 30 cases before the Supreme Court.

The Supreme Court cases are National Federation of Independent Business v. Sebelius, No. 11-393; U.S. Department of Health and Human Services v. Florida, No. 11-398; and Florida v. Department of Health and Human Services, No. 11-400.

(Additional reporting by Jeremy Pelofsky; Editing by Howard Goller, Kevin Drawbaugh and David Brunnstrom)

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