Greg Katsas and the Bald Eagle

September 7th, 2017

This morning President Trump nominated Greg Katas, who currently serves in the White House Counsel Office, to the D.C. Circuit. This is an absolutely fantastic nomination. I am grateful that I got to know Greg while writing Unprecedented, and talked to him and his wife about their experiences during the Obamacare litigation. One episode from the final day of oral arguments stands out, which I reproduce here:

Chief Justice Roberts brought the proceedings to a close on Wednesday, March 28, 2012, at 2:24 PM. “Thank you, Mr. Clement. And thank you, General Verrilli, Mr. Kneedler, Mr. Carvin, Mr. Katsas, and in particular, of course, Mr. Long and Mr. Farr [the Court-appointed advocates]. The case is submitted.”

After three grueling days and six-plus riveting hours of arguments, following three grueling years, the case had come to a close.

That evening the Heritage Foundation hosted a reception for all of the attorneys involved. Mike Carvin, Greg Katsas, Randy Barnett, and many others were there. The mood was festive. They all felt fairly confident about how the arguments had gone. Before the reception, Katsas’s wife had emailed Todd Gaziano and told him that a bald eagle had landed in the backyard of their suburban Virginia home. She attached a photo of the bald eagle, the symbol of our nation, proudly perched on their lawn.

Gaziano deemed it an omen of victory. He asked an intern to blow up the picture and put it on a huge poster board at the reception. Everyone at Heritage looked at the eagle and smiled. At that point, many in the room thought they had won. At that point, they had won.