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Who Were the Lawyers Arguing the Trump Ballot Case?

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Who Were the Lawyers Arguing the Trump Ballot Case?

When the Supreme Court considers on Thursday whether former President Donald J. Trump should appear on the primary ballot in Colorado, two former law clerks with vastly different ideologies will square off before the justices.

Colorado’s solicitor general will also be arguing before the court.

The lawyer for Mr. Trump, Jonathan F. Mitchell, 47, is best known for drafting anti-abortion laws that ultimately led the Supreme Court to abolish the constitutional right to the procedure.

One of those laws, Senate Bill 8, was engineered in part by Mr. Mitchell and led to a near-total ban on abortion in Texas. He also worked on similar laws in other states.

After graduating from the University of Chicago’s law school, Mr. Mitchell clerked for J. Michael Luttig, a federal appeals judge and a prominent conservative voice who has since spoken out forcefully against Mr. Trump, followed by a clerkship at the Supreme Court with Justice Antonin Scalia. Notably, Judge Luttig, now retired, filed a brief opposing Mr. Trump’s position in the case.

In 2010, Mr. Mitchell was appointed Texas solicitor general, a post he held until 2015. In 2018, he opened his own law firm in Austin, Texas.

He spent years working on legislation in Texas that would essentially outlaw abortion in the state. In 2021, the law, called the Texas Heartbeat Act, was enacted. Its enforcement established a kind of bounty system — ordinary people could file suit against those involved in performing abortions — and incentivized lawsuits by allowing plaintiffs to collect $10,000 and legal fees from those they sued.

Mr. Mitchell, who has argued before the Supreme Court five times, is also set to appear again this term. He will argue on behalf of a Texas guns rights activist in a challenge to a Trump administration law banning bump stocks, attachments that allow semiautomatic rifles to fire in sustained, rapid bursts.

Jason Murray, 38, is representing the Colorado voters who successfully challenged Mr. Trump’s inclusion on the state’s primary ballot.

This will be Mr. Murray’s first appearance before the Supreme Court, but he clerked for two of the current justices: Justice Neil M. Gorsuch, then a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit, and Justice Elena Kagan.

A graduate of Harvard Law, he spent more than a decade as a trial lawyer in private practice before joining with a group of lawyers to form a boutique law firm focused on public-interest litigation.

The solicitor general of Colorado, Shannon Stevenson, will argue on behalf of Colorado’s secretary of state, Jena Griswold. Ms. Stevenson, 48, took office last spring after more than two decades in private practice with a firm based in Denver. She has briefed and argued more than 70 cases before state and federal appeals courts in the West.

Kitty Bennett and Kirsten Noyes contributed research.

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