By Richard L. Pacelle
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Additional resources for Between Law & Politics: The Solicitor General and the Structuring of Race, Gender, and Reproductive Rights Litigation (Joseph V. Hughes, Jr., and Holly ... Presidency and Leadership Studies, No. 14)
It is more eﬃcient than trying to aﬀect each of the agencies individually. The relationship between the agency and the solicitor general deﬁes easy characterization. Organizationally, the solicitor general is superior to the agency. But the agency sets the policy priorities. There are tensions inherent in the relationship. Kneedler notes that “the oﬃce is often seen as arrogant by the agency. ”29 The agency thinks that its particular cases are important. The solicitor general may take a broader view and decide not to pursue the cases.
It is not unreasonable to assume that institutional goals are more dominant in noncontroversial issue areas. As Figure - shows, at the top of the hierarchy of personal goals, the solicitor general wants to retain the position. Remaining in oﬃce permits the solicitor general to achieve one of the dominant substantive personal goals: advancing the president’s agenda. Other personal goals involve the solicitor general’s place in history and future employment. F - H G S G Personal Institutional • Maintain Position as • Maintain Oﬃce Independence Solicitor General • Advance President’s Agenda • Help Supreme Court Impose Doctrinal Stability • Preserve Future • Protect Supreme Court Employment Opportunities • Secure Place in History • Maintain Relations with Agency • Maintain Level of Success in Supreme Court* *Combination of Personal and Institutional Goals Between Law and Politics In controversial areas, the solicitor general would be more likely to care about personal goals.
Most solicitors general believe it is proper to contribute to the administration’s agenda, but a wholesale departure from the special status that the solicitor general enjoys would impair that status and the The Solicitor General and American Politics ability to serve the president’s objectives would suﬀer. According to Lawrence Wallace, “The Administration needs an eﬀective voice in the Supreme Court. ”10 While the president cannot micromanage the solicitor general, the administration’s views get an airing.