California Attorney General Kamala Harris has appointed an out gay man to be the state’s solicitor general.
Edward DuMont, 51, will serve as the chief appellate lawyer for the justice department, leading the new Office of the Solicitor General. There, he’ll oversee all civil and criminal appeals and litigate “the most sensitive, complex cases throughout the appellate process in state and federal courts,” Harris’s office said in a Monday, October 28 news release.
“The people of California will be well served by Ed’s legal acumen and extensive appellate litigation experience,” stated Harris. “I am confident that his talent, drive and background will supplement the department’s already robust appellate practice and help us establish the best solicitor general’s office in the country.”
In April 2010, President Barack Obama became the first president to name an openly gay person to a federal appeals court when he named DuMont to the Federal Circuit appeals court. But Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee blocked DuMont’s nomination from advancing even to a hearing and DuMont withdrew his nomination in November 2011.
Asked about the situation in a brief phone interview with the Bay Area Reporter, DuMont would only say, “I was honored to be nominated. I’m sorry it didn’t work out, but I’m looking forward, not backward. I’m delighted to have this new opportunity.”
DuMont said in Harris’s news release, “I am honored to have been asked to join the dedicated lawyers at the Department of Justice and to help ensure that the people of California continue to receive the highest level of appellate representation.”
DuMont has argued 18 cases before the U.S. Supreme Court on issues including employment and criminal law. He received his Bachelor of Arts degree from Yale University and his Juris Doctor from Stanford Law School.
In an email to the B.A.R., Geoff Kors, senior legislative and policy strategist for the San Francisco-based National Center for Lesbian Rights, called DuMont “an excellent choice” for solicitor general.
“Ed was a classmate of mine at Stanford Law School and he is an extremely intelligent and talented attorney,” said Kors. “His history of public service and experience arguing cases before the United States Supreme Court will be a great asset to California and we are fortunate to have him in this position.”
This is the second federal judicial nominee to get a high-profile state appointment in California. Goodwin Liu withdrew his own nomination and Governor Jerry Brown named him to the state Supreme Court.
DuMont is currently vice chair of the Appellate and Supreme Court Litigation Practice Group at the law firm of Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr LLP. Among other posts, he’s also served as an associate deputy attorney general at the U.S. Department of Justice, where he focused on computer crime and privacy issues.
A spokesman for Harris said the salary for DuMont’s position was advertised as $12,000 a month. DuMont will officially assume his new post in January.