Theodore B. Olson

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Ted Olson

Theodore B. Olson is American political figure and Lawyer who served as the 42nd Solicitor General of the United States. He is a Fellow at the American College of Trial Lawyers and the American Academy of Appellate Lawyers. Olson was rumored to be the likely replacement for resigned attorney General Alberto Gonzales.[1] His views and polices have generally been in line with conservatives, from whom he enjoys strong support. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid vowed to block Olson from becoming the United States Attorney General if President George W. Bush had nominated him to replace Alberto Gonzales.[2]

During the dispute regarding the 2000 Presidential election, Olson successfully represented George W. Bush and Dick Cheney in the Supreme Court case Bush v. Gore.


Early life

Olson was born in Chicago, Illinois, and educated in California. He attend the University of the Pacific in Stockton, California, where he was top of his class . After receiving his bachelor's degree, Olson attended the University of California at Berkley where he became a member of the California Law Review and eventually received his law degree.

Reagan Administration

From 1981 to 1984, under President Ronald Reagan, Olson served as Assistant Attorney General for the Office of Legal Council. Before and after his work as Assistant Attorney General, he worked in the Washington, D.C. office for a legal organization based in Los Angeles, Dunn & Cruther. There he practiced constitutional, media commercial and appellate litigation. Through his work with Dunn & Cruther, Olson brought numerous cases before the Supreme Court of the United States. These cases included issues concerning telecommunications, federal securities regulation, federal statutory issues regarding copyright, antitrust, the environment, school vouchers, the internet, the 2000 census, property rights, punitive damages, criminal law, immigration, the right to a jury trial, due process, equal protection, separation of powers, voting rights, the ex post facto clause, the speech, press and religion clauses of the First Amendment, the powers of the President, and the constitutionality of the McCain-Feingold campaign finance reform law.

September 11th

On September 11, 2001, Olson's wife, Barbara, who was a conservative commentator for CNN, died in the hijacked airplane that hit the Pentagon.[3] During the terrorist fight towards the Pentagon, Barbara contacted Olson via a cell phone. Ted immediately contacted the command center of the Department of Justice to inform them of the hijacked plane.

He later recalled his feelings during the tragic incident, "I wanted it not to be true. I wanted it not to be her plane. I wanted it - I wanted, if it was her plane, to have somehow survived because she was in the back of the airplane. But we know that doesn't happen, not with those sorts of things."[4]

Bush Administration

Olson was nominated to the position of Solicitor General in February 2001 by President George W. Bush, and took the oath of office in June 2001, after Senate confirmation. As Solicitor General, Olson personally argued twenty-five cases before the High Court and won twenty out of the twenty-three that have been decided.[5] He left his position as Solicitor General of the United States in 2004.

Olson served on President Bush's Five-Member Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board, created by the Congress in 2004 on the recommendation of the 9/11 Commission.[6]

Former Attorney General John Ashcroft said in a statement that "Olson is among the finest individuals it has been my privilege to know," and called him "a dedicated patriot who brought unbridled energy and enthusiasm, along with brilliant legal acumen and peerless dedication to his office and to Justice."[7]

Perry v. Schwarzenegger

Olson was part of the legal team representing the plaintiffs in the federal lawsuit Perry v. Schwarzenegger, challenging Proposition 8, a California state constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage. Kristin Perry and Sandra Steir, the named plaintiffs in the case, are lesbians who applied for, and were denied, a marriage license in Los Angeles County.

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