Theodore B. Olson

Friday, July 28, 2017

Location Amphitheater

Gate pass required. Purchase at our Main Gate Welcome Center, (716) 357-6250

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Former Solicitor General of the United States

Theodore B. Olson was Solicitor General of the United States from 2001-2004; from 1981-1984, he was Assistant Attorney General in charge of the Office of Legal Counsel in the U.S. Department of Justice. Except for those two intervals, he has been a lawyer with Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher since 1965.

As Solicitor General for President George W. Bush, Olson was the government's principal advocate in the U.S. Supreme Court, responsible for supervising and coordinating all appellate litigation of the United States, and a legal adviser to the president and the attorney general. Olson has served as private counsel to two presidents, Ronald W. Reagan and George W. Bush, in addition to serving those two presidents in high-level positions in the Department of Justice.

Selected by TIME magazine in 2010 as one of the 100 most influential people in the world, Olson has argued 62 cases in the Supreme Court, including the two Bush v. Gore cases arising out of the 2000 presidential election, Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, and Hollingsworth v. Perry, the case upholding the overturning of California’s Proposition 8, banning same-sex marriages. He has prevailed in over 75 percent of those arguments. 

Olson has twice been awarded the Department of Justice’s Edmund J. Randolph Award, its highest award for public service and leadership, and also received the Department of Defense’s Distinguished Service Award, its highest civilian award, for his advocacy in the courts of the United States, including the Supreme Court. The late New York Times columnist William Safire described Olson as this generation's “most persuasive advocate” before the Supreme Court and “the most effective Solicitor General” in decades.

Olson received his law degree from the University of California at Berkeley, and his bachelor's degree from the University of the Pacific.