William Consovoy, leading conservative lawyer, dies at 48

William Consovoy, a lawyer turned conservative advocate, has been at the forefront of ongoing efforts to reform election laws and repeal affirmative action claims and has represented President Donald Trump in legal arguments about the unconstitutional. of his taxes, died on January 9 in his time. family in Falls Church, Va. He was 48 years old.

He was diagnosed in 2020 with glioblastoma, an aggressive form of brain cancer, said his mother, Linda Whalen. Mr. Consovoy was the lead attorney in the lawsuits challenging the admissions policies of Harvard University and the University of North Carolina that are currently pending before the US Supreme Court. He could not attend the argumentative speech in those circumstances in October due to his poor health.

Even to his legal and philosophical enemies, Mr. Consovoy was a strong legal genius, one of whose influences was rejected by his youth.

“He was enlightened, he was intelligent, he was wise, and, most importantly, he was brave,” Edward Blum, a conservative activist who worked with Mr. Consovoy to destroy elements of the Law of Rights of 1965 and on a series of sanctions, said in an interview. “He took on cases that most lawyers and law firms in this country couldn’t.”

Mr. Consovoy stood out among the many Ivy Leaguers who fill the federal court on both sides of the bench. He wanted to work in sports management before enrolling in what is now the Antonin Scalia Law School at George Mason University, which. he said he decided to attend because his location in Northern Virginia allowed him to save money by staying with family.

“A lot of lawyers in DC have this kind of high impact, and Will is not one of those,” William Baude, a law professor at the University of Chicago and a friend of Mr. Consovoy’s, told the Washington Post in 2019. “You can tell he’s a bad guy from New Jersey who doesn’t care about honor and status.”

In the course of his legal research, Mr. Consovoy hopes for the law and especially for the rule of law. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, which Mr. Consovoy was his “hero,” later hiring him as a secretary.

Mr. Consovoy first year of work as a partner with the Washington law firm of Wiley Rein. He was “deeply involved,” said Blum, “in the planning and execution” of Shelby County v. Holder. In that case, decided in 2013, the Supreme Court voted 5-4 to cancel a central provision the Voting Rights Act, which required states and localities to submit racial profiling records to seek federal “clearance” before they were enacted changes in the way citizens vote.

For those who agreed with the court, the decision represented a necessary change in a federal law nearly half a century after its passage. Two of them disagreed, a serious blow to the protection of civil rights if they remain at risk. Mr. Consovoy, in the speech quoted by the New York Timesdescribed the decision as a “modest decision by the court.”

In 2014, Mr. Consovoy in building the store that is now Consovoy McCarthy. The following year, he argued two cases before the United States Supreme Court – Spokeo, Inc. v. Robinsa case that is “unpopular with the public but of great importance to the court of ‘permanence,'” wrote legal writer David Lat in a tribute to mr. Consovoy, and another, Evenwel v. Abbottin the redistribution of elections.

But he is perhaps best known for his membership of Students for Criminal Justice, a group that Blum organized to challenge evidence in the college application process. (Mr. Consovoy has already worked with Blum above Fisher v. University of Texaswhere the Supreme Court in 2016 upheld the legalization of races.)

In 2014, Blum’s group filed federal lawsuits against Harvard and UNC, alleging that acceptance of race was tantamount to discrimination against Asian Americans.

“If the court … asks itself, ‘Can we be sure that Harvard does not discriminate against Asian Americans in the way that the Supreme Court asked us to make sure that the if we allow universities to use human species,’ I believe that the answer will definitely be ‘no,'” said Mr. Consovoy in arguments before the appeals court in 2020, according to the National Law Journal.

The Supreme Court is widely expected to rule against Harvard and UNC. Such a decision will be hailed by opponents as a victory for what they consider to be justice and condemned by supporters of the admission of special people as an attack on diversity and fundamental prejudice. prejudice. A decision against universities, It was written by Lat“it could end up being Consovoy’s most lasting legal legacy.”

Mr. also attracted Consovoy has been appointed as Trump’s personal attorney during his long-running battle to prevent Democrats and New York prosecutors from accessing his tax and other financial records amid investigations into conflicts of interest and foreign influence. -peddling.

“We view the entire subpoena as an unfair fishing trip that was not conducted in good faith,” said Mr. Consovoy in the appeals court in 2019, also arguing that Trump was protected by “temporary immunity of the president.”

Refer to Trump’s pride of speech that he could “stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody” but not “distract voters,” a judge asked if Mr. Consovoy even under those conditions cannot investigate the president while in office.

“That’s right,” replied Mr. Consovoy, while saying that “yes, the power of the Congress remains.”

In an email after the death of Mr. Consovoy, Douglas N. Booksa lawyer who was the attorney general of the US House of Representatives during the room war with Trump, he remembered that he and Mr. Consovoy “were facing each other in court at different times.”

“Will is a very smart person on the court,” Letter wrote, “and I knew I had to bring my ‘A game’ when he was on the other side.”

William Spencer Consovoy was born in Plainfield, NJ, on August 31, 1974.

His father, Andrew, was chairman of the New Jersey State Parole Board before resigning amid accusations, which he denied, that he traded with members of the gang. Neither he nor his son faced any charges explained The incident told the Times “it was a painful experience for me and my family.”

The mother of Mr. Consovoy worked with the state’s violent crime compensation board before leading a treatment program for adults with severe mental illness.

In 1996, Mr. Consovoy holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from Monmouth University in West Long Branch, NJ. At Scalia Law School, where he graduated in 2001, he studied presidential administration under Kenneth Starrthe former US attorney general and the independent counsel who investigated President Bill Clinton on the subject of his relationship with former White House member Monica S. Lewinsky.

In 2020, Mr. Consovoy to Masa Anisic. He died the following year of colon cancer.

Besides his mother, of Scotch Plains, NJ, survivors include his father, of Centerville, Va.; his stepfather, Bernie Whalen of Scotch Plains; and a sister.

Despite his high position in the conservative legal term, Mr. Consovoy a low level. “I don’t talk to the media,” he said said said. “I’ll talk to the court.”

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