Obama picks RIAA lawyer to replace Kagan as solicitor general

Tuesday, January 25, 2011 10:11 EDT
google plus icon
  • Print Friendly and PDF
  • Email this page

President Barack Obama announced Monday that he plans to nominate former Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) lawyer Donald B. Verrilli, Jr. as solicitor general, a position formerly held by Elena Kagan.

Verrilli currently serves as deputy counsel to the president and previously served as an associate deputy attorney general in the Department of Justice. Prior to serving for the Justice Department, he worked in the private law firm Jenner & Block for over 20 years.

During his private practice, Verrilli had been involved in a number of prominent cases involving online file-sharing and copyright infringement, arguing on behalf of the recording and entertainment industry.

He represented 28 companies that sued the file-sharing network Grokster for copyright infringement in the US Supreme Court. In 2005, Grokster was forced to shut down its site following a $50 million legal settlement with the movie studios, record labels and music publishers.

In 2007, he led a team of lawyers that sued Google for $1 billion on behalf of the entertainment giant Viacom, alleging that Google’s site YouTube was involved in massive violations of copyrighted material.

In the same year, Verrilli represented the RIAA against a Minnesota woman named Jammie Thomas, who allegedly made songs available on the file-sharing network Kazaa. During the case, he argued that “making copyrighted sound recordings available for electronic distribution on a peer-to-peer network” violated the law, “regardless of whether actual distribution has been shown.”

Along with representing the recording and entertainment industry, in 2003 Verrilli argued on the winning side of a Supreme Court ruling that overturned a convicted killer’s death penalty and unsuccessfully challenged the form of lethal injection used by many states to carry out executions, The New York Times reported.

He also signed an amicus curie brief that argued Jose Padilla, a United States citizen accused of being a terrorist, could not be classified as an “enemy combatant” and was entitled to due process.

If confirmed by the Senate, Verrilli would fill the powerful position now held by Neal Katyal, who became the acting Solicitor General after Elena Kagan was nominated to the Supreme Court. Kagan was confirmed to the post by Congress in August 2010.

The solicitor general argues on behalf of the government of the United States in the Supreme Court and is responsible for filing amicus curiae briefs in cases where the government has a significant legal interest.

Verrilli has participated in more than 100 cases before the US Supreme Court and argued 12, according to the White House. He also served as an adjunct professor of constitutional law at the Georgetown University Law Center for more than 15 years, focusing on First Amendment law.

By commenting, you agree to our terms of service
and to abide by our commenting policy.
  • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/XZOZFUWR3YKJ25ZUAQQZWO7R6I SR

    Impressive internet degree. But it still doesnt explain why you would discount private debt service and its effect on the stability/viability of our currency.

  • LumberJock

    Private debt is not part of the public domain and is not congruent to public
    fiscal policy, nor is it material to any other public policy – even in a
    real capitalist economy. In our blended system, some consideration of the
    dollar volume of debt may be reasonable in establishing interest rates, but
    until the source of capital is acknowledged to be critical, the volume of
    debt is just another tick mark on the page.
    The role of foreign debt is a red herring. I buy US securities through
    off-shores monthly. I also buy some through a local broker and more through
    a Wall Street Investment House – but most of my purchases are with off-shore
    profits so the money never returns to the U.S. – or at least until the
    republican’t party is so badly beaten that their level of social, political,
    financial, economic and educational sabotage is dust ground under the feet
    of real liberals and progressives. Those of us who are financially
    responcible, politically active and socially mature must keep our powder dry
    and options open. So much is written about the litmus tests of political
    maturity that I wish to avoid specifics, thereby avoiding written arguments
    with Palestinian lovers and Fed haters..

  • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/XZOZFUWR3YKJ25ZUAQQZWO7R6I SR

    You still havent addressed the role of private debt on the viability of our currency. Ignoring it is as futile as ignoring gravity. And what do you mean by “public domain” — are you saying that this is knowledge that isnt publicly available? If thats the case, your statement is false. Total private debt is public knowledge and can be acquired by several methods even if it wasnt.

    The partisan babble I’m just going to ignore since it has no bearing on monetary structure, or monetary policy for that matter.

    “Fed hater” is a handy ad hom, but it doesnt change the fact that our monetary system is structured like a classic ponzi scheme– even with the absolute power of the Fed, the system is destined for collapse as the numbers simply become too big to cope with.

    By ‘US securities’ I assume you mean treasuries. And by “buying” I assume you mean holding them. If thats the case, you’re in a losing investment. It doesnt matter how you buy them, you are not keeping pace with inflation. The only way to win by “investing” in treasuries is to trade them or to borrow money at a lower rate than they pay out, as our commercial banks do.

    Funny enough, you do seem like somebody who sees themselves as profiting from government debt. It makes sense that you would support policies that lead to the creation of more public debt, including the current status quo of US monetary structure. But, like I said, unless you’re a bankster or a trader, you’re just fooling yourself as to the actual benefit of your own position.

  • LumberJock

    Let me preface the answers with this bit of personal history. My degree in
    Economics is not a business degree. When I took Economics it was considered
    a Social Science dealing with political questions not the viability of a
    business or industry. We were concerned with the viability of a nation, a
    culture, a society and a stable ecology on the surface of the planet.
    The role private debt plays in our economy is two-fold. One – Interest paid
    is purchasing power redirected from goods and services; two – it is at the
    same time capital removed from commercial and industrial expansion. Since
    we aren’t creating jobs here in the US as a push-back against labor
    reformation, the latter is irrelevant to our discussion. The former is so
    mercurial as to be irrelevant for less reasonable motivation. Currently all
    business expansion is restricted to buying other businesses, and all
    stock-value increase is restricted to buying back stock by businesses –
    contraction rather than expansion. If they borrow to do this THEY are the
    culprit criminals, not bonds funds accumulators and aggregators.
    Public domain is likely a poor choice of words from a range of selection
    that is as poor as the term I chose. Public domain is that area relegated
    to decisions affecting public policy that is private property or proprietary
    information that should be made public.
    Suggest your changes without euphemisms like ‘bankster’. Just what is a
    bankster? Do you use the term trader to include the entire range of
    individuals and trusts that buy and sell currencies, stocks, bonds,
    real-estate, trust instruments as well as people who frequent garage sales,
    flea markets and roadside boutiques?
    Your rage is somewhat comical to me. Yes! I profit from the system of
    debentures made available by many levels of government: schools, special
    purpose taxing and operating districts, cities, counties and the Federal
    Government. I believe I’m one of the most savvy; I could be considered
    unrelentingly profitable.
    It makes no difference to you, me or my principals how profit is counted
    and how often we count or how long it takes us to count or from what source
    we profit. The impact on the economy of what I do is obvious to me. But,
    until we begin repatriating jobs, and making more effective decisions at
    actually creating value added jobs, what I do to be profitable is aggregated
    profit available to the expansion when it comes. Until a manufacturer,
    foundry or other resource processing entity begins expanding here I’m going
    to profit elsewhere as a manifestation of my political independence.
    Question: What’s the difference between an Accountant and an Economist?