Paul Drew Clement (born June 24, 1966) is an American lawyer. He is a former United States Solicitor General and current partner at the law firm of Kirkland & Ellis after its acquisition of his previous firm Bancroft PLLC. He is also a Distinguished Lecturer in Law at Georgetown University and an adjunct professor at New York University School of Law. He was nominated by President George W. Bush on March 14, 2005 for the post of Solicitor General, confirmed by the United States Senate on June 8, 2005, and took the oath of office on June 13. Clement replaced Theodore Olson.
Clement resigned on May 14, 2008, effective June 2, 2008, and joined the Georgetown University Law Center as a visiting professor and senior fellow at the Supreme Court Institute.
Early life and education
Clement was born to Jean and Jerry Clement, and he had two brothers and a sister. Clement is a native of Cedarburg, Wisconsin. In 1984, he graduated from Cedarburg High School, where he was on the debate team. He received his bachelor's degree summa cum laude from the Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University, and a master's degree in economics from Darwin College, University of Cambridge. While at Georgetown, Clement successfully competed in the American Parliamentary Debate Association. He received his J.D. degree magna cum laude from Harvard Law School where he was the Supreme Court editor of the Harvard Law Review.
Following graduation, Clement clerked for Judge Laurence H. Silberman of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit and for Associate Justice Antonin Scalia of the U.S. Supreme Court. After his clerkships, he worked as an associate in the Washington, D.C. office of Kirkland & Ellis. Clement went on to serve as Chief Counsel of Subcommittee on the Constitution, Federalism and Property Rights of the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee. Afterwards, he was a partner in the Washington, D.C., office of King & Spalding, where he headed the firm's appellate practice. He also served from 1998 to 2004 as an Adjunct Professor at the Georgetown University Law Center, where he taught a seminar on the separation of powers.
Clement joined the United States Department of Justice in February 2001. Before his confirmation as Solicitor General, he served as Principal Deputy Solicitor General, and he became the acting Solicitor General on July 11, 2004 when Theodore Olson resigned. He has argued over 53 cases before the United States Supreme Court, including McConnell v. FEC, Tennessee v. Lane, Rumsfeld v. Padilla, United States v. Booker, Hamdi v. Rumsfeld, Rumsfeld v. FAIR, Hamdan v. Rumsfeld, Gonzales v. Raich, Gonzales v. Oregon, Gonzales v. Carhart, Hein v. Freedom From Religion Foundation, and Sekhar v. United States. He also argued many of the key cases in the lower courts involving challenges to the Bush administration's conduct of the war on terrorism. He has argued more cases before the Supreme Court since 2000 than any other lawyer.
On August 27, 2007, President Bush named Clement as the future acting Attorney General of the United States, to take office upon the resignation of Alberto Gonzales, effective September 17, 2007. According to administration officials, Clement took that office at 12:01 AM September 17, 2007, and left office 24 hours later. On September 17, President Bush announced that Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Division, Peter Keisler would become acting Attorney General, pending a permanent appointment of a presidential nominee.
Clement gave notice of his resignation on May 14, 2008, effective June 2, 2008, and returned to Georgetown University Law Center as a senior fellow. He had been mentioned as a possible Supreme Court candidate in a John McCain presidency and was a coveted potential hire among D.C. legal firms, who reportedly are vyed to build a firm around his expertise in appellate matters. Evan Tager of Mayer Brown said: “Paul Clement is the Holy Grail of law firm recruiting... The buzz in the legal world about Clement is like the buzz in basketball when LeBron James was coming out of high school and turning pro. It will be interesting to see where the market will go.”
As of November 20, 2008, Clement had re-joined King & Spalding as a partner in its expanding appellate litigation practice. As part of King & Spalding, he argued on behalf of the NRA in the Supreme Court case McDonald v. Chicago on March 2, 2010.
Clement was part of the legal team that represented players in the NBA in labor negotiations during the 2011 lockout. Clement also advised 10 NFL players in the spring of 2011 when the NFL was facing a potential lock-out.
As a partner at King & Spalding, Clement was hired in April 2011 by the Republican majority in the U.S. House of Representatives to defend the Defense of Marriage Act, a law that federally defines marriage as between one man and one woman, after the U.S. Department of Justice decided to stop defending it. King & Spalding withdrew from the case on April 25, 2011, and Clement resigned from the firm to continue his representation, arguing that "representation should not be abandoned because the client's legal position is extremely unpopular in certain quarters."
Clement joined Bancroft PLLC, a boutique law firm led by former Assistant Attorney General Viet D. Dinh.
Clement led the challenge on behalf of 26 states to overturn the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act in the Supreme Court on March 26–28, 2012. The Court upheld the "individual mandate" as a tax, but found the States could not be compelled to accept the portion of the law relating to Medicaid expansion.
On March 27, 2013, Clement served for the respondent Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group of the United States House of Representatives at the Supreme Court in United States v. Windsor. On June 26, 2013, the Court ruled against Clement and BLAG by finding the Defense of Marriage Act to be unconstitutional.
Clement has argued more than 85 cases before the U.S. Supreme Court, more than any other lawyer in private practice. Clement was mentioned as a potential Supreme Court nominee of Republican presidential nominees John McCain and Mitt Romney. In 2014, Jeffrey Toobin named Clement a likely Supreme Court nominee in the event of a Republican victory in the 2016 presidential election.
List of law clerks of the Supreme Court of the United States
George W. Bush Supreme Court candidates
Biography at Bancroft PLLC
Office of the Solicitor General
Appearances on C-SPAN