FILIPINO American Noel Francisco, the former U.S. Solicitor General, was among the 20 people named in President Donald Trump’s list of possible Supreme Court additions this week.
Trump released the list, which also includes Senators Tom Cotton of Arkansas, Ted Cruz of Texas, and Josh Hawley of Missouri, in the event there is a vacancy should he be elected to a second term.
“Every one of these individuals will ensure equal justice, equal treatment and equal rights for citizens of every race, color, religion and creed,” Trump said at a press conference announcing the names on Wednesday, September 9. “Together we will defend our righteous heritage and preserve our magnificent American way of life.”
Francisco, 51, was appointed the nation’s 48th solicitor general in 2017 and served in the Department of Justice (DOJ) until July of this year, when he returned to his former law firm, Jones Day, in Washington, D.C.
A New York native, Francisco went on to receive his B.A. with honors from the University of Chicago and his J.D., with high honors, from the University of Chicago Law School.
“Mr. Francisco served as a law clerk to Justice Antonin Scalia on the Supreme Court of the United States and Judge J. Michael on the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit,” read the list of possible Supreme Court additions.
During former President George W. Bush’s presidential term, Francisco served as associate counsel of the president before serving as deputy assistant attorney general at the DOJ.
In his private practice, Francisco brought a number of high profile cases before the Supreme Court including McDonnell v. United States in which Francisco represented former Virginia governor Robert McDonnell, whose corruption case was overturned.
He also represented plaintiffs who challenged former President Obama’s efforts to uphold recess appointments, and plaintiffs who sought to allow employers to opt out of covering contraceptives in employee health plans if they had moral objections.
As solicitor general, Francisco personally argued 17 cases at the Supreme Court, and represented Trump in major cases like the travel ban that barred individuals from numerous predominantly Muslim countries from entering the U.S., and the still pending effort to end the Deffered Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.
As the first Asian American to serve as solicitor general, Francisco has previously spoken about his Filipino heritage and of his father who immigrated to the U.S. from the Philippines and became a medical doctor.
During a DOJ Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month program in May 2018, Francisco shared in his remarks, how his late father, Nemesio Maharice Francisco, remained his biggest inspiration.
In sharing the story of how his father left for the U.S. to attend medical school on the savings of family members in the Philippines, Noel Francisco said, “That’s, of course, where my story began.”
“We came here on the shoulders of immigrants who had the courage to cross oceans in search of a better life,” said Francisco.
In regards to his father’s influence on his interest in politics, Francisco shared how his father donated to President Ronald Reagan’s re-election campaign and received an auto-penned photograph of Reagan which his father was proud of.
“It was only many years later that I began to understand why,” said Francisco. “It was because he had come to understand that he was an American, and he was actively participating in our democratic process.”