Nov 13 (Reuters) – Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton on Monday said he has appointed a Brigham Young University law professor and attorney at law firm Kirkland & Ellis to serve as the state’s next solicitor general.
Aaron Nielson, a former clerk for U.S. Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito, will serve as Texas’ lead lawyer in state and federal appellate courts.
“In this position, he will lead the critical appellate work for some of our most significant, far-reaching cases,” Paxton, a Republican, said in a statement.
Paxton said Nielson will take a one-year leave of absence from Brigham Young University’s J. Reuben Clark Law School to serve as solicitor general.
Nielson did not immediately respond to a request for comment. In a statement released by Paxton’s office, Nielson said he looked forward to “working alongside the team Attorney General Paxton has assembled.”
The appointment comes about two months after the Texas Senate acquitted Paxton on 16 articles of impeachment he faced before that body, allowing him to keep his state office. Paxton has been dogged by corruption allegations since taking office in 2014.
Paxton, an ally of former U.S. President Donald Trump, has repeatedly insisted that he is innocent and that the impeachment trial was a political witchhunt.
Nielson has worked at Kirkland for more than decade, according to his LinkedIn profile. The firm’s website said he is an of counsel in its Washington, D.C., and Salt Lake City offices.
Apart from Alito, Nielson has also served as a clerk to Judge Janice Rogers Brown of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit and Judge Jerry Smith of the 5th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals.
Another former Alito clerk, T. Elliot Gaiser, was tapped last month to become Ohio’s next solicitor general.
As attorney general, Paxton has backed powerful oil and gas interests and pursued restrictions on abortion and transgender rights. He has led Republican state opposition to the policies of Democratic presidents, and filed an unsuccessful lawsuit seeking to overturn Trump’s 2020 election defeat.
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Reporting by David Thomas
Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.
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