Office of the Solicitor General | Definition

Doc's CJ Glossary by Adam J. McKee
Course: Courts

The Office of the Solicitor General represents the U.S. government in cases before the Supreme Court.

The Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) is a crucial part of the U.S. Department of Justice. After all, it represents the federal government in cases before the Supreme Court, the highest court in the nation.

Role of the Solicitor General

The Solicitor General, who leads the OSG, holds the responsibility of deciding which cases to appeal to the Supreme Court. Also, they represent the U.S. government when it is involved in a case before the Supreme Court. This person is the only one, aside from the Attorney General, who is by law allowed to argue cases in front of the Supreme Court.

The OSG and the Supreme Court

The OSG is deeply involved with the Supreme Court. Both when the government is a party to a case and when it isn’t, the Supreme Court often asks the OSG for its views. This request is known as a “call for the views of the Solicitor General.” If the Court requests it, the OSG will provide an amicus curiae brief, offering the government’s perspective on a case.

Role in Criminal Justice

In the context of criminal justice, the OSG is vital. It has a say in many cases that reach the Supreme Court, which includes criminal cases. Additionally, the OSG has influence over the development of legal and constitutional standards that impact the criminal justice system.


All in all, the Office of the Solicitor General plays a crucial role in the U.S. justice system. By representing the government before the Supreme Court, it helps shape the law of the land, including criminal law. Therefore, its contributions to the legal system are both significant and far-reaching.

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Last Modified: 07/02/2023

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