Gregory Garre ’87 was sworn into office as the new United States Solicitor General last week, replacing former solicitor general Paul Clement, who resigned in May. The solicitor general represents the federal executive branch before the Supreme Court and delegates cases pertaining to the federal government to the 20 attorneys in the solicitor general’s office.
“I am a member of the administration and support the president and all that, but we’re lawyers and we defend our clients and our client is the United States government,” Garre said in an interview with The Dartmouth.
Garre worked in the solicitor general’s office from 2000 to 2004 as an assistant to the solicitor general and returned to the office as deputy solicitor general in 2005, according to his office’s web site.
“It allowed me to get on the job training,” he said, referring to his years as deputy solicitor general.
Garre has argued 24 Supreme Court cases, according to the site.
While at Dartmouth, Garre was a government major and secretary of Beta Theta Pi fraternity. After playing football for Dartmouth during his first two years, he quit the team to “focus on other things.”
Garre’s internship in the House of Representatives budget committee inspired him to go to law school in Washington, D.C., he said.
Garre’s government professor, Lynn Mather, directed his internship in D.C. and described him as a “solid” student. The following semester, Garre took a seminar class with Mather where she turned his final project into a published article about a lawsuit brought against a fired football coach. According to Mather, Garre conducted interviews, interpreted case law and studied data about the fired coach’s situation in order to write an insightful seminar paper about how trial courts can shape public policy.
“I watched him become a different person that term. He was always hardworking, but he became more intellectually curious, creative and entrepreneurial,” Mather said. “Greg got really excited about the project, and I was proud of what he had done.”
Garre came to Dartmouth interested in government and described law as a natural extension of that pursuit.
Garre also spent a semester abroad in London on a government department program.
“It was a fantastic experience and an opportunity to learn about a different system of government,” Garre said. “It was really neat to work in parliament.”
After earning his law degree from George Washington University Law School, Garre clerked for Judge Anthony J. Scirica of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit and former Supreme Court Chief Justice William Rehnquist. He then moved into private practice, leading the Supreme Court and appellate practice section for the Washington, D.C.-based law firm Hogan & Hartson, according to the web site for the Office of the Solicitor General.
Garre’s jobs as a law clerk gave him a better understanding of how Supreme Court cases work, he said, although “every Supreme Court argument is a nerve wracking experience.”
“Each argument is like your first argument,” he said.
When President George W. Bush’s administration ends in January, Garre plans to take a break from work and spend time with his family.