On Monday, Brigham Young University Law School announced in a press release that professor Aaron Nielson will take a one-year leave of absence to serve as solicitor general in Texas.
A Harvard Law School graduate, Nielson served as a law clerk to Supreme Court Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr. He also clerked for Judge Jerry E. Smith, U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit in 2007 to 2008, which has appellate jurisdiction over districts in Texas, Louisiana and Mississippi.
He later became a BYU Law professor where he has supervised the law school’s Washington, D.C., program. Nielson has also served as chairman of the Administration and Management Committee of the Administrative Conference of the United States.
Nielson concentrates on administrative law, civil procedure, antitrust and the federal courts.
“I’m grateful to BYU Law for its willingness to allow me to take a one-year leave to work with the world-class appellate lawyers in the Texas Solicitor General Division. BYU is a place that takes public service seriously,” Nielson said in a statement. “I’m also grateful to Attorney General Ken Paxton, the whole team in the Attorney General’s Office and the State of Texas for placing their trust in me.”
“As Solicitor General, I’ll do my best to zealously represent 30 million Texans while providing state and federal judges and justices with my service as an officer of the court. It’s a humbling, remarkable opportunity, and I’m excited to get to work,” Nielson continued.
David Moore, dean of BYU Law, said, “Aaron is a prolific scholar, talented teacher and accomplished practitioner. He embodies BYU Law’s mission ‘to be and develop people of integrity who combine faith and intellect in lifelong service to God and neighbor.’”
“I am grateful for Aaron’s inclination to public service and look forward to what he will bring back to BYU and its incredible students on his return.”
Nielson’s appointment comes on the heels of Paxton’s impeachment trial. Paxton faced 16 charges of corruption, misconduct and bribery, per The Associated Press. Texas’ Republican-majority senate acquitted him. Paxton also faces securities fraud charges in Texas and a professional misconduct lawsuit from the Texas State Bar in relation to a lawsuit he filed which attempted to overturn presidential election results, the Texas Tribune reported.
Former Solicitor General Judd Stone initially took a leave of absence to represent Paxton during the impeachment trial. After taking this leave, Stone resigned to pursue private practice along with Assistant Attorney General Christopher Hilton, according to the The Texas Tribune.
“I am delighted to welcome Aaron as solicitor general. In this position, he will lead the critical appellate work for some of our most significant, far-reaching cases,” Paxton said in a press release. “His talent and expertise are virtually unmatched, earning him national renown in the legal community. He will be a tremendous asset to our agency and to our state’s appellate leadership on the major legal questions of our era.”
Other solicitors general in Texas have included Sen. Ted Cruz, lawyer Jonathan Mitchell and 5th Circuit Judge James Ho, per The Texas Tribune.