The Office of the Solicitor General represents the Commonwealth in all civil and criminal appeals in the United States Supreme Court, the federal courts of appeals, the Supreme Court of Kentucky, and the Kentucky Court of Appeals. Since 2019, the Office has presented oral argument in over 30 appeals. The Office also helps coordinate the defense of the Commonwealth’s laws against constitutional challenge. In addition to overseeing appeals in which the Commonwealth is a party, the Office also supervises the Commonwealth’s submission of amicus briefs in cases in which Kentucky is not a party.
In 2019, Attorney General Daniel Cameron created the Office of the Solicitor General, making him the first Kentucky Attorney General to appoint a Solicitor General to oversee the Commonwealth’s appellate litigation. During the 2020 legislative session, Attorney General Cameron worked with the General Assembly to codify the Office of the Solicitor General into statute. As a matter of Kentucky law, the Office of the Solicitor General now ensures that Kentuckians’ voices are heard in our state’s and nation’s highest courts.
The Civil Appeals Division represents the Commonwealth in all civil appeals. The Division coordinates all appeals in which Kentucky’s laws are challenged, which often includes intervening in those appeals on behalf of the Commonwealth to ensure that Kentucky’s laws receive a full defense. The Division also handles appeals related to, among other things, consumer protection, constitutional and statutory interpretation, and administrative action. The Division also leads the Office’s filing and joining of civil amicus briefs.
The Criminal Appeals Division represents the Commonwealth in appeals of criminal convictions and in post-conviction proceedings. While local prosecutors handle criminal trials, Kentucky law gives the Division jurisdiction over those cases once they are appealed. To this end, the Division works with local prosecutors to uphold lawfully imposed convictions and to ensure that lawfully imposed sentences are carried out. Learn more about criminal appeals.
AMICUS CURIAE BRIEFS
The Office of the Solicitor General regularly files and joins amicus briefs expressing the views of the Commonwealth in state and federal courts across the nation, including the United States Supreme Court. When the Commonwealth is not a party to a case but nevertheless has an interest in it, the Solicitor General files an amicus brief as a “friend of the court” to provide the Commonwealth’s position about how the matter should be resolved. The Solicitor General often works with other states’ solicitors general to prepare amicus briefs on behalf of a coalition of states. A sample of the amicus briefs that Attorney General Cameron’s office has filed or joined is available here.