Pronouncing Francisco at One First Street

March 5th, 2018

Noel Francisco has argued six cases before the Supreme Court, three as Solicitor General, and three in private practice. In 2015, when he argued Zubik v. Burwell and McDonnell v. United States, Chief Justice Roberts pronounced his name as “Franchesca.” However, for the three cases argued as Solicitor General (Masterpiece CakeshopJanus, and Husted), Chief Justice Roberts pronounced it like the city of San Francisco.

Which is the right way? I wrote about this pronunciation in Unraveled:

During oral arguments, both Chief Justice Roberts and Solicitor General Donald Verrilli pronounced Francisco’s name as “Franchesca.” Noel told me that he pronounces it like San Francisco. Verrilli, I was told, said “that is how you would pronounce it in proper Italian.”

It’s possible someone in the SG’s office informed the Chief of the correct way to pronounce the name. Or, perhaps the Chief simply enjoys saying “General Francisco,” though if he ever adds “Franco,” the jig is up.