Theodore Olson

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Theodore Bevry Olson (born September 11, 1940) is a former United States Solicitor General, serving from June 2001 to July 2004 under President George W. Bush.


Early life

Theodore Olson was born in Chicago and grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area in Mountain View, California. He graduated from Los Altos High in 1958, completed his undergraduate degree at the University of the Pacific, and a law degree at Boalt Hall.[1]

Legal career

Olson practiced law first as an associate and then as a partner in the Los Angeles, California office of the law firm Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP. He then served as an Assistant Attorney General (Office of Legal Counsel) in the Reagan administration[2] before returning to private practice as a partner in the Washington, D.C. office of his former law firm. While serving in the Reagan administration, Olson defended President Reagan during the Iran-Contra affair.[2]

Olson represented convicted Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard while he was in private practice. In Pollard's appeal to United States Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, Olson argued the life sentence Pollard received was in violation of the plea bargain agreement, which had specifically excluded a life sentence. Olson also argued that the violation of the plea bargain was grounds for a mistrial. The Court of Appeals ruled (2-1) that no grounds for mistrial existed.

Olson argued a dozen cases before the Supreme Court prior to becoming Solicitor General;[3] In one case, he argued against federal sentencing guidelines, and in a case in New York state, he defended a member of the press who had first leaked the Anita Hill story.[2] Olson successfully represented presidential candidate George W. Bush in the Supreme Court case Bush v. Gore, which effectively ended the recount of the contested 2000 Presidential election.

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