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The usually obscure job of principal deputy solicitor general has been in the news lately, because a younger John Roberts Jr. once held the position � and took positions that are now fodder for the debate over his nomination to the Supreme Court. The job still exists but is currently vacant, though not for long if Solicitor General Paul Clement has his way. Knowledgeable sources say Clement, who replaced Theodore Olson as SG, has sent up a list of possible candidates and is hoping to have someone in place before the start of the high court’s fall term, on Oct. 3. Some combination of input from Attorney General Alberto Gonzales and the White House will be used to fill the job, also known as the “political deputy.” The candidates on Clement’s short-list, according to several sources, include Gregory Garre, who succeeded Roberts as head of Hogan &Hartson’s Supreme Court and appellate practice and who worked with Roberts for years; Gregory Katsas, Patrick Philbin, and Daniel Meron, all top Justice Department officials; and Jennifer Newstead, described by one insider as the “superstar” general counsel at the Office of Management and Budget. Chances are, given what’s being dredged up about Roberts, whoever gets the job will think twice before committing controversial advice to paper.
Tony Mauro can be contacted at [email protected]

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