Donald Trump’s pick for one of the top lawyers in the federal government just decided he didn’t want to hitch his star to Trump’s wagon.
Chuck Cooper, whom President Trump nominated to be the next Solicitor General (the person tasked with representing the federal government in the Supreme Court), withdrew his name from consideration on Thursday evening.
According to Politico, Cooper — a Supreme Court litigator who once clerked for late Supreme Court Chief Justice William Rehnquist — was one of two finalists for the coveted position within the Department of Justice.
“I am deeply honored by any consideration that I may have received by Attorney General Sessions and President Trump for appointment as the Solicitor General, but I have asked them to discontinue any further consideration of me for that critically important position,” Cooper said in a public statement, only telling Politico that “life is good and too short” when pressed about why he was suddenly withdrawing from the nomination process.
The position of Solicitor General is one of the top positions in the U.S. Department of Justice, as the office holder is, by default, the third-most powerful person in the Justice Department after the Attorney General and the Associate Attorney General.
The position can also be a precursor to becoming a Supreme Court justice, as Elena Kagan was confirmed to the Supreme Court after serving as Solicitor General during the Obama administration.
With Cooper now out of consideration, the Solicitor General post may very well go to George T. Conway — husband of Trump legal adviser Kellyanne Conway — who was rumored to be a finalist for the position.