Former Solicitor General Gregory Garre was recognized Monday not only for his impressive track record of winning 28 of the 34 cases he argued before the U.S. Supreme Court, but for the remarkably wide breadth of topics on which he prevailed.
While presenting Garre with the this year’s J. Reuben Clark Law Society’s prestigious Rex Lee Advocacy Award, another former solicitor general pointed out that Republican-appointed Garre argued victories on behalf of a death row inmate and a California university seeking to exclude Christian groups from its facilities.
But Garre, now the chair of Latham & Watkins' Supreme Court and appellate practice group, also represented big car companies against the little guy, and “pretty much was involved in almost every nook and cranny of the defense of President Bush’s war on terror,” said Paul Clement, now of Bancroft in Washington.
“One thing that unites all these cases is the quality of Greg’s advocacy on behalf of the client, which never varies based on the issue or the side of the fence,” Clement said. “He’s a real pro, start to finish.”
Garre has argued cases in each of the past eleven terms and four cases in 2011-2012 term, including Maples v. Thomas, the case involving a death row defendant at least temporarily spared the death penalty because of a filing deadline mix-up on the part of his attorneys.
He is a “modest superstar” of the appellate law world who shuns the limelight and has “no bravado, no flash, no trash talk,” said Richard Bress, a former assistant to the solicitor general who works with Garre at Latham.
“Serious students of the game love and appreciate his work,” Bress said. “He understands the game at a deep level.”
Garre has successfully argued numerous high-profile cases before the Court. Those include: Ashcroft v. Iqbal; Monsanto v. Geerston Seed Farm; Christian Legal Society v. Martinez; FCC v. Fox Television Stations, Inc.; and Winter v. Natural Resources Defense Council, Inc.
The award is named after Rex Lee, the distinguished appellate lawyer who argued 59 cases before the Supreme Court. His sons, Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) and Utah Supreme Court Justice Thomas Lee, attended the awards ceremony.
Garre spent most of his acceptance speech speaking about Rex Lee, and said he could appreciate why Lee had called it “the greatest lawyering job in the world.”
“This award means so much to me because of the man that it honors,” Garre said.