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Texas Solicitor General Appointments in Recent times Include Sen. Ted Cruz and Fifth Cir. Judge Jim Ho

Notable alumni of the Office of the Solicitor General – 6 are now either District or Federal Judges and one on the Texas Supreme Court.



Musical Chairs: Jim Ho Replaces Ted Cruz as Texas Solicitor General (SG)

APR 10, 2008 | REPUBLISHED BY LIT: MAR 26, 2022

Congratulations to our old friend James Ho. The good news first surfaced on Sophistic Miltonian Serbonian Blog:

A quiet trickle of a rumor last week was that James C. Ho, currently of counsel with Gibson Dunn and a former law clerk to Justice Thomas at SCOTUS, has been tapped to serve as the next Solicitor General of Texas.

If this is true, Texas will be in very capable hands as Jim Ho is certainly one of the best appellate lawyers in the state (and the country for that matter), and has demonstrated great and valuable political savvy on the national stage as well.

Moreover, it is interesting to note that, now, three of the four solicitors general have clerked for SCOTUS (Greg Coleman – Justice Thomas; Ted Cruz – the late Chief Rehnquist; and Jim Ho – Justice Thomas).

A SCOTUS clerkship now appears to be a prerequisite to the post, which makes eminent sense because one of the OSG’s main functions is to represent the State before SCOTUS-a job we have noted current General Cruz has done extremely well.

That preliminary report appeared on Tuesday; the news is now confirmed.

Here are press releases from the Texas Attorney General,  [page removed from internet] Greg Abbott, and the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association, both praising Ho for his past achievements, and wishing him well in his latest endeavor.

Over at the Supreme Court of Texas blog, Texas appellate lawyer Don Cruse (another old friend) has some interesting observations:

What’s somewhat unusual about Ho’s legal career path is that he did his Supreme Court clerkship midstream, after he had already spent five years as a lawyer working in the political branches.

According to the data on his LinkedIn profile, Ho finished his clerkship for Justice Thomas in July 2006….

The recency of that clerkship may, however, raise one small speed bump — the United States Supreme Court’s rule barring former clerks from participating in cases before that Court for two years from the end of their clerkship.

Because Ho’s clerkship at the Court did not end until July 2006, he is barred (if I understand the rule) from any participation in the United States Supreme Court docket until late this summer.

I’m confident that the Texas SG’s office has other lawyers capable of handling those duties until then.

Indeed — as Don Cruse well knows, having worked in that office himself before starting his own practice.

As for outgoing Texas SG Ted Cruz, it’s not clear where he’ll land.

Given his stellar talents as an advocate, reflected in his huge recent win in the Medellin case, any firm would be lucky to have him.

But we hear that private practice may just be a way station for him, on the way to what one source describes as “bigger and better — and more political — things…”

Once again, congratulations to Jim Ho on a fantastic new gig!

P.S. If you’d like to learn more facts about Jim, of a personal rather than professional nature —

e.g., that he’s married to another fabulous former SCOTUS clerk, Allyson Newton Ho

— check out our profile of him, back at Underneath Their Robes.

The next Solicitor General of Texas [Sophistic Miltonian Serbonian Blog]
New Texas SG [Supreme Court of Texas Blog]
Attorney General Abbott Appoints New Solicitor General [Texas Attorney General]
NAPABA Celebrates Appointment of James Ho as Solicitor General of Texas [NAPABA]
James C. Ho. bio [Gibson Dunn & Crutcher]
Justice Thomas’s OT 2005 Clerks [Underneath Their Robes]

List of solicitors general

The following is a table of solicitors general of Texas.[2]


  Republican (7)   Democratic (0)   No party (0)

No. Name Took office Left office Attorney General
1 Greg Coleman 1999 2001 John Cornyn
2 Julie Parsley 2001 2002
3 Ted Cruz January 9, 2003 May 12, 2008 Greg Abbott
4 James C. Ho May 2008 December 9, 2010
5 Jonathan F. Mitchell December 10, 2010 January 5, 2015
6 Scott A. Keller January 2015 September 10, 2018 Ken Paxton
7 Kyle D. Hawkins September 10, 2018 February 1, 2021
8 Judd Stone February 1, 2021 Incumbent

Notable alumni of the Office of the Solicitor General – 6 are now either District or Federal Judges and one on the Texas Supreme Court.

National Asian Pacific American Bar Association

1612 K Street N.W., Suite 1400
Washington, D.C. 20006

April 9, 2008

Contact: John C. Yang
(202) 719-4483


Washington, DC – The National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA) is pleased that the Attorney General of Texas Greg Abbott has announced his intent to appoint James C. Ho as the next Solicitor General of Texas, effective after the expected departure of the current Solicitor General Ted Cruz.

Mr. Ho will become the highest ranking Asian Pacific American statewide official in Texas, and one of only a very small handful of Asian Pacific Americans to have held statewide office in Texas.

The Office of the Solicitor General for Texas is responsible for supervising and approving all appellate litigation in the State of Texas.

The Texas Solicitor General regularly appears before the Supreme Court of the United States, the Supreme Court of Texas, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, and Texas state courts of appeal.

Mr. Ho is presently Of Counsel with the law firm of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP.

He previously has served in all three branches of the federal government: as Chief Counsel to Senator John Cornyn of Texas; as a law clerk on the Supreme Court for the Honorable Clarence Thomas, and on the Fifth Circuit for the Honorable Jerry E. Smith; and in the Department of Justice both as a Special Assistant to the Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights and as an Attorney- Adviser in the Office of Legal Counsel.

Mr. Ho was recognized as one of NAPABA’s “Best Lawyers Under 40” in 2006, and currently serves as a Co-Chair for NAPABA’s Judiciary Committee.

He also has been recognized as a “Texas Super Lawyer” in Law & Politics, a “Rising Star in Texas” by Texas Monthly, and in 2005 as one of the 35 “Best Congressional Aides Under 35” in the publication The Hill.

“NAPABA applauds Texas Attorney General Abbott for his leadership in appointing Jim Ho,”

said Les Jin, Executive Director of NAPABA.

“The Asian Pacific American population is growing rapidly in Texas, and the inclusion of Asian Americans in positions of leadership within the Texas state government is the logical next step.”

John C. Yang, Co-Chair of NAPABA’s Judiciary Committee, added,

“Mr. Ho is a very talented attorney who will represent the State of Texas, and its rich diversity of residents, extremely well. We look forward to working with him on issues that affect the Asian Pacific American population in that state.”

May 13, 2005

April 5, 2021

Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP is pleased to announce that Kyle D. Hawkins has rejoined the firm as a partner in the Houston office. Hawkins recently served as the Solicitor General of Texas and will focus on appellate and constitutional law, class actions and commercial litigation.

“We are pleased to welcome Kyle back to the firm and to our Houston office,”

said Ken Doran, Chairman and Managing Partner of Gibson Dunn.

“We have one of the top appellate practices in the U.S., and with his reputation as a highly skilled advocate at the state and national levels, Kyle will be a terrific addition to the practice. His significant government experience and insight into Texas state agencies will greatly benefit our clients.”

“Kyle is an experienced appellate advocate, who is widely respected for his integrity and oral advocacy,”

said Allyson Ho, Co-Chair of the firm’s Appellate and Constitutional Law Practice Group.

“As the State of Texas’s most high-profile litigator, Kyle handled the state’s most important cases. His profile and experience will enrich our Texas appellate team, and he is a natural fit to serve as the Houston office’s first litigation partner as we expand our presence throughout the state.”

“I’m thrilled to return to Gibson Dunn,”

said Hawkins.

“I look forward to working closely with the firm’s litigation and appellate teams to grow the firm’s offering in Texas and across the U.S.”

About Kyle D. Hawkins

Hawkins will practice in the areas of appellate and constitutional law, class actions and commercial litigation. Prior to his return to the firm, he served as Solicitor General of Texas from 2018 to 2021 and as Assistant Solicitor General of Texas from 2017 to 2018. As Solicitor General, he was responsible for supervising and approving all appellate litigation for the State of Texas. He has presented 30 oral arguments, including four before the U.S. Supreme Court, six before the Texas Supreme Court, 17 before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit (including five before en banc panels), and three before the Texas Courts of Appeals in Austin, Dallas, and Fort Worth. He also served as an adjunct professor at the University of Texas School of Law, teaching a course on U.S. Supreme Court practice.

Prior, Hawkins practiced in Gibson Dunn’s Washington, D.C. office from 2011 to 2013 and from 2014 to 2017.

He clerked for U.S. Supreme Court Justice Samuel A. Alito, Jr. from 2013 to 2014

and for

Judge Edith H. Jones of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit from 2010 to 2011.

Hawkins graduated summa cum laude in 2009 from the University of Minnesota Law School, where he served as editor-in-chief of the Minnesota Law Review.

He graduated magna cum laude from Harvard College in 2002.

Jonathan F. Mitchell is principal at Mitchell Law PLLC. He received his law degree with high honors from the University of Chicago Law School, where he was an articles editor of The University of Chicago Law Review and a member of the Order of the Coif.

After graduating from law school, Mr. Mitchell clerked for Judge J. Michael Luttig of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit and for Justice Antonin Scalia of the Supreme Court of the United States. He then served as an Attorney-Adviser in the Office of Legal Counsel of the United States Department of Justice from 2003 through 2006. After leaving the Department of Justice, Mr. Mitchell was a Visiting Assistant Professor at the University of Chicago Law School from 2006 through 2008, and then an Assistant Professor of Law at George Mason University from 2008 through 2010.

In 2010, Mr. Mitchell was appointed Solicitor General of Texas, a position he held until January 2015. After leaving the Texas Solicitor General’s office, Mr. Mitchell served as the Searle Visiting Professor of Law at the University of Texas School of Law, a Visiting Professor of Law at Stanford Law School, and a Visiting Fellow at the Hoover Institution. Mr. Mitchell has published numerous works of scholarship in top-10 law journals, and he has written articles on textualism, national-security law, criminal law and procedure, judicial review and judicial federalism, and the legality of stare decisis in constitutional adjudication.

Mr. Mitchell has argued four times before the Supreme Court of the United States, and more than a dozen times in the federal courts of appeals. He has also argued before Supreme Court of Texas and in numerous trial courts. He has authored more than 100 briefs, and his brief for the respondents in Gonzalez v. Thaler, 132 S. Ct. 641 (2012), and his brief for the petitioners in Utility Air Regulatory Group v. EPA, 134 S. Ct. 2427 (2014), each received a Best Brief Award from the National Association of Attorneys General.

Supreme Court Arguments

Campbell–Ewald Co. v. Gomez, No. 14-857 (October 14, 2015)

  • Represented class-action plaintiff who opposed the defendant’s attempt to moot the case by offering monetary relief solely to the class representative


Utility Air Regulatory Group v. EPA, No. 12-1146 (February 24, 2014)

  • Represented States challenging the Obama Administration’s greenhouse-gas regulations


EPA v. EME Homer City Generation, No. 12-1182 (December 10, 2013)

  • Represented a coalition of States challenging the Obama Administration’s cross-state air-pollution rule


Gonzalez v. Thaler, No. 10-895 (November 2, 2011)

  • Represented the State of Texas in a habeas corpus case involving the interpretation of AEDPA’s statute of limitations



Professional Activities

  • Member, Practitioners’ Reading Group for the ABA’s Standing Committee on the Federal Judiciary, evaluating U.S. Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland, 2016
  • Board of Advisors, New Civil Liberties Alliance

Judd Stone II, the Texas solicitor general, makes his Supreme Court debut.

Nov 5, 2021

Judd Stone II, a former clerk to the conservative Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, was named solicitor general of Texas earlier this year. On Monday, he will take on his most high-profile challenge to date: arguing before the Supreme Court on behalf of the state in two challenges to its new anti-abortion law.

Mr. Stone, who took his post in February, joined the state solicitor general’s office in 2020.

He was appointed by Ken Paxton, the state attorney general.

His predecessor, Kyle Hawkins, called Mr. Stone’s appellate advocacy skills “unmatched.” He oversees an office of attorneys who supervise and approve all appellate litigation for the state.

Before joining the office of the solicitor general, Mr. Stone was chief counsel for Senator Ted Cruz of Texas, himself a former Texas solicitor general.

Mr. Stone practiced law in Washington, D.C., at the Supreme Court and Appellate Practice Group for Morgan, Lewis, and Bockius, and the Kellogg, Hansen, Todd, Figel, and Frederick law firm. He was also an Olin-Searle-Smith fellow at Harvard Law School.

Before his career in private practice, Mr. Stone clerked for Mr. Scalia,

for Judge Edith Jones on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit,


for Justice Daniel Winfree on the Alaska Supreme Court.

He graduated from the University of Texas at Dallas and from Northwestern University Law School.

Mr. Hawkins, the previous solicitor general, announced his resignation in January. Notably, he had declined to join Mr. Paxton’s efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election.

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