The BLT has learned that Principal Deputy Solicitor General Neal Katyal today submitted his resignation, effective at the end of the current Supreme Court term -- which will likely be at the end of this month.
Katyal's move came a day after Donald Verrilli was sworn in as the new solicitor general. Katyal had been the acting SG since predecessor Elena Kagan was nominated to the Supreme Court last year.
Katyal's departure was rumored for months after Verrilli was nominated to the position, though he publicly indicated his support for Verrilli. Katyal stayed on through the end of the Court's argument calendar in April and beyond, defending the constitutionality of the health care reform law in four separate appeals court arguments in the last month.
With a successor installed, though, Katyal apparently felt it was time for his next step. He plans to head into private practice, taking his appellate skills to a firm with an existing or start-up appellate practice. As with most recent SGs, Katyal is likely to be courted by several firms, says Thomas Goldstein of Goldstein, Howe & Russell.
"He is going to be a very hot commodity," said Goldstein, who headed the appellate practice at Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld until six months ago. "He's not unlike Paul Clement -- very young, with 30 years or more of practice ahead of him but already operating at the highest levels."
Katyal, 41, made a name for himself winning the landmark 2006 case Hamdan v. Rumsfeld on behalf of Guantanamo detainees, while on the faculty at the Georgetown University Law Center. He was the first Obama appointee to the SG's office in 2009, and has argued a total of 15 cases before the high court in his career, losing four.