Solicitor General

Role of the Office of the Solicitor General

As Florida’s chief appellate attorney, the Solicitor General serves the Attorney General in defending the interests of the people of Florida in state and federal court. The Office of the Solicitor General is responsible for handling the State’s most sensitive and complex litigation, supervising the State’s civil and criminal appeals, and advising the Attorney General, especially on amicus curiae matters and multi-state litigation. The Solicitor General’s staff includes eight attorneys and an administrative assistant. Aside from his duties within the Office of the Solicitor General, the Solicitor General serves as the Richard Ervin Visiting Professor at the Florida State University College of Law.

Meet the Solicitor General

Henry Whitaker became Florida’s Solicitor General in July 2021. He came to the position after four years of serving in the Office of Legal Counsel of the U.S. Department of Justice, including as Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General, where he advised the White House Counsel’s Office, the Attorney General, and cabinet secretaries on a range of important and complex legal issues. Before that, Solicitor General Whitaker worked on the Appellate Staff of the Civil Division of the U.S. Department of Justice for almost nine years, arguing more than 40 appeals in the federal appellate courts. He clerked for Justice Clarence Thomas of the U.S. Supreme Court and for Judge David B. Sentelle of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit after graduating magna cum laude from both Harvard Law School and Yale College.


Representative Matters

    Whether Medicaid may seek reimbursement of its medical-assistance payments from the portion of a beneficiary’s settlement with a third-party tortfeasor representing payment for future medical care.

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    Whether the State of Florida’s recently enacted anti-riot statute is unconstitutionally overbroad and vague.

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    Whether a trial court, over the objection of the Attorney General and without meeting the requirements of Florida Rule of Criminal Procedure 3.853, may order the release of DNA evidence pursuant to a so-called “consent agreement” between a death-row-sentenced defendant and a State Attorney.

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    Whether Florida’s sexual battery statute requires proof that the defendant knew his victim did not consent, and whether the statute is constitutional.

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    Whether local and municipal officials are immune from sanction when they knowingly enact ordinances in violation of a Florida statute preempting local regulation of firearms.

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    Whether the Secretary of the Department of the Interior properly deemed approved a gaming compact between the State of Florida and the Seminole Tribe, worth billions of dollars in revenues to the state, under the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act.

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    Whether the district court erred in concluding that a Florida law regulating social media companies violated the First Amendment and was preempted.

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    Whether the City of Austin code’s distinction between on- and off-premises signs is a facially unconstitutional content-based regulation under Reed v. Town of Gilbert.

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    Whether the Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination protects a criminal defendant from being compelled to produce the passcode to his cellphone when police have a warrant to search the phone but the phone is locked.

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Solicitor General Fellowship

Beginning in Fall 2022, the Office of the Solicitor General each year will invite one or more recent law school graduates or judicial law clerks to serve for 12 months as a Solicitor General Fellow. SG Fellows will assist staff in every facet of the work of the Office, including performing legal research, drafting briefs, appearing in court, and advising the Solicitor General and the Attorney General. The fellowship is ideal for talented young attorneys with a passion for the law who wish to pursue a career in appellate advocacy. The next openings for SG Fellowships are September 2022 and 2023.

Employment Opportunities

The Office of the Solicitor General is also receiving applications for the positions of deputy and assistant solicitor general. Supervised by the Solicitor General and the Office’s civil and criminal chief deputies, deputy and assistant solicitors general brief and argue complex appeals in the Florida Supreme Court, the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals, and the U.S. Supreme Court. The Office’s attorneys also consult on strategic matters in state and federal trial courts and engage in dispositive motions practice. Our deputy and assistant solicitors general typically performed well in law school, clerked on a federal court or the Florida Supreme Court, and have demonstrated proficiency in writing appellate briefs and presenting oral argument.

A formal job vacancy announcement is available here. To learn more about employment opportunities in the Office of the Solicitor General—including openings for deputy and assistant solicitors general and SG Fellows—please contact Jenna Hodges at (850) 414-3807 or jenna.hodges@myfloridalegal.com.