Ted Olson

About the Speaker
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    Dorta Law
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    Washington, D.C. Office 1050 Connecticut Avenue, N.W. Washington, DC 20036-5306, USA
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Theodore B. Olson is a Partner in Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher’s Washington, D.C. office; a longtime Member of the Firm’s Executive Committee, and Founder of the Firm’s Crisis Management, Sports Law, and Appellate and Constitutional Law Practice Groups.

Mr. Olson was Solicitor General of the United States during the period 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 in Los Angeles and Washington, D.C. since 1965.

Selected by Time magazine in 2010 as one of the 100 most influential people in the world, Mr. Olson is one of the nation’s premier appellate and United States Supreme Court advocates. He has argued 62 cases in the Supreme Court and has prevailed in over 75% of those arguments.  These cases include 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. Mr. Olson’s practice is concentrated on appellate and constitutional law, federal legislation, media and commercial disputes, and assisting clients with strategies for the containment, management and resolution of major legal crises occurring at the federal/state, criminal/civil and domestic/international levels. He has handled cases at all levels of state and federal court systems throughout the United States.

Mr. Olson’s Supreme Court arguments have included cases involving separation of powers; federalism; voting rights; the First Amendment; the Equal Protection and Due Process Clauses; jury trial rights; punitive damages; takings of property and just compensation; the Commerce Clause; taxation; criminal law; copyright; antitrust; securities; campaign finance; foreign sovereign immunities; telecommunications; the environment; the internet; and other federal constitutional and statutory questions.

As Solicitor General, during the presidency of George W. Bush, Mr. Olson was the Government’s principal advocate in the United States 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. As Assistant Attorney General for the Office of Legal Counsel during the Reagan Administration, Mr. Olson was the Executive Branch’s principal legal adviser, rendering legal guidance to the President and to the heads of the Executive Branch departments on a wide range of constitutional and federal statutory questions, and assisting in formulating and articulating the Executive Branch’s position on constitutional issues.

Mr. 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. He has twice been awarded the United States 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.

Mr. Olson is a member of the Council of the Administrative Conference of the United States as well as the Commission on White House Fellowships.  He is a member of the Board of Trustees of the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation and a member of the Board of Visitors of the Federalist Society. He was a visiting scholar at the National Constitution Center in 2007. He served on the President’s Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board from 2006 to 2008. He was Co-Chair of the Knight Commission on the Information Needs of Communities in a Democracy from 2008-2009, and served two terms on the Board of Directors of the National Center for State Courts.

Mr. Olson is a Fellow of both the American College of Trial Lawyers and the American Academy of Appellate Lawyers. He has been repeatedly listed in legal publications as one of the nation’s leading appellate lawyers.  The late New York Times columnist William Safire described Mr. Olson as this generation’s “most persuasive advocate” before the Supreme Court and “the most effective Solicitor General” in decades.

Mr. Olson received his law degree in 1965 from the University of California at Berkeley (Boalt Hall) where he was a member of the California Law Review and Order of the Coif. He received his bachelor’s degree from the University of the Pacific, where he was recognized as the outstanding graduating student in both forensics and journalism. He has written and lectured extensively on appellate advocacy, oral communication in the courtroom, civil justice reform, and constitutional and administrative law.

Selected Appellate Litigation

Cases Briefed and Argued

1.         Bank Markazi; AKA The Central Bank Of Iran v. Deborah Peterson, ___ U.S. ____ (2016).  Foreign sovereign immunities, constitutional law, separation of powers.

2.         Republic of Argentina v. NML Capital, Ltd., 573 U.S.___. Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act, discovery.

3.         Hollingsworth v. Perry, 570 U.S. __ (2013).  Civil rights. Constitutionality of California’s Proposition 8 limiting marriage to a man and a woman, under Due Process and Equal Protection clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment standing.

4.         Kirtsaeng v. John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 568 U.S. __ (2013).  Copyright.  Whether Section 109(a) of the Copyright Act, which permits the owner of a copy “lawfully made under” the Copyright Act, to resell that copy without the copyright owner’s authorization, applies to copies manufactured outside the United States.

5.         CIGNA Corporation v. Amara, 563 U.S. 421 (2011).  ERISA.  Whether an ERISA plan participant must prove detrimental reliance to recover benefits based on an inconsistency between a Summary Plan Description and the terms of the plan itself.

6.         Mayo Foundation for Medical Education & Research v. United States, 562 U.S. 44 (2011).  Federal Tax; Administrative Law.  Whether the Treasury Department can categorically exclude medical residents from the student exception to the Federal Insurance Contributions Act.

7.         Citizens United v. FEC, 558 U.S. 310 (2010).  First Amendment.  Reargument. Constitutionality of federal statutory restrictions on corporate independent expenditures respecting federal elections under the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2003 (“BCRA”).

8.         Citizens United v. FEC, 558 U.S. 310 (2010).  First Amendment.  Whether the prohibition on corporate electioneering communications in the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2003 can constitutionally be applied to a feature-length documentary film about a political candidate distributed through Video on Demand.

9.         Coeur Alaska Inc. v. Southeast Alaska Conservation Council, 557 U.S. 261 (2009).  Clean Water Act.  Whether a discharge of a gold mine’s “fill material” is regulated by the Army Corps of Engineers under Section 404 of the Clean Water Act, or by the Environmental Protection Agency under Section 402 of the Act.

10.      Polar Tankers, Inc. v. City of Valdez, 557 U.S. 1 (2009).  Tonnage Clause; Commerce Clause.  Whether the property tax that the City of Valdez, Alaska, imposes on oil tankers and other large vessels violates the Tonnage Clause or dormant Commerce Clause.

11.      Caperton v. A.T. Massey Coal Co., 556 U.S. 868 (2009).  Due Process.  Whether the Due Process Clause requires the recusal of an elected state supreme court justice who received $3 million in campaign support from the CEO of a party challenging a multimillion-dollar verdict before his court.

12.      Carcieri v. Salazar, 555 U.S. 379 (2008).  Indian Law.   Whether the Indian Reorganization Act of 1934 authorizes the Secretary of the Interior to take land into trust on behalf of an Indian tribe that was not federally recognized and under federal jurisdiction at the time the statute was enacted.

13.      Altria Group, Inc. v. Good, 555 U.S. 70 (2008).  Federal Preemption.  Whether state-law claims challenging the marketing of “light” cigarettes are expressly or impliedly preempted by federal law.

14.      Allison Engine Co. v. United States ex rel. Sanders, 553 U.S. 662 (2008).  False Claims Act.  Whether the False Claims Act encompasses false claims submitted to federally funded private parties or is instead restricted to false claims submitted to the government.

15.      Riegel v. Medtronic, Inc., 552 U.S. 312 (2008).  Federal Preemption.  Whether federal law preempts state-law products liability claims challenging the design and labeling of medical devices that the Food and Drug Administration has found to be safe and effective.  

16.      New York State Board of Elections v. Lopez Torres, 552 U.S. 196 (2008).  First Amendment.  Whether New York’s system for selecting party nominees for the office of state Supreme Court Justice violates the First Amendment.

17.      Leegin Creative Leather Products, Inc. v. PSKS, Inc., 551 U.S. 877 (2007).  Antitrust.  Whether vertical minimum resale price maintenance agreements should be deemed per se illegal under the Sherman Act or evaluated under the rule of reason.

18.      Watson v. Philip Morris, 551 U.S. 142 (2007).  Civil Procedure.  Whether a private corporation that is delegated official government responsibilities and subject to stringent government oversight is “acting under” a federal officer and therefore entitled to remove a case to federal court under 28 U.S.C. § 1442(a)(1).

19.      Microsoft Corp. v. AT&T Corp., 550 U.S. 437 (2007).  Intellectual Property; Patent Law.  Treatment of overseas copies of digital software code under federal patent laws.

20.      DaimlerChrysler Corp. v. Cuno, 547 U.S. 332 (2006).  Standing; Commerce Clause.  Whether franchise tax credit or property tax exemption violates the Commerce Clause and whether plaintiffs had standing to bring the challenge.

21.      Wagnon v. Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation, 546 U.S. 95 (2005).  State Taxation; Tribal Sovereignty.  Whether state could tax off-reservation receipt of fuel by non-tribal distributors, manufacturers, and importers.

22.      Cheney v. United States District Court, 547 U.S. 367 (2004).  Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA); Separation of Powers; the Presidency; Appeals of Interlocutory Orders.  Applicability of FACA to President’s National Energy Policy Development Group, consisting exclusively of Executive Branch officials; whether Vice President may appeal interlocutory discovery order implicating separation of powers issues under the doctrine articulated in U.S. v. Nixon.

23.      Rasul v. Bush; Al Odah v. United States, 542 U.S. 466 (2004).  Article III Jurisdiction; Habeas Corpus; Enemy Combatants.  Whether federal courts can exercise habeas corpus jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. §2241 with respect to aliens having no contacts with the United States held in custody by Executive Branch officials in territory not subject to U.S. sovereignty.  Status of Guantanamo as non-U.S. sovereign territory.  Whether Johnson v. Eisentrager is controlling precedent.

24.      Elk Grove Unified Sch. Dist. v. Newdow, 542 U.S. 1 (2004).  Establishment Clause of First Amendment; Pledge of Allegiance; Standing.  Whether public elementary school district may begin classes each day with Pledge of Allegiance containing “under God.” Standing of non-custodial parent to challenge constitutionality of school district practices over objection of custodial parent.

25.      Ashcroft v. ACLU, 542 U.S. 656 (2004).  First Amendment; Pornography; Child Online Protection Act (COPA).  Constitutionality of criminal laws prohibiting internet transmission of sexually explicit, harmful to children, material without screening mechanism to protect against access by minors.

26.      Engine Mfrs. Assoc. v. Southcoast Air Quality, 541 U.S. 246 (2004).  Clean Air Act; Preemption.  Whether Clean Air Act preempts regional air quality motor vehicle purchase requirements.

27.      Locke v. Davey, 540 U.S. 712 (2004).  Religion Clauses of First Amendment.  Constitutionality under Free Exercise and Establishment Clauses of state scholarship program that denies benefits to students studying theology from a religious perspective.

28.      SEC v. Edwards, 540 U.S. 389 (2004).  Securities Act of 1933; Securities Exchange Act of 1934; Definition of a Security.  Whether an instrument promising a fixed return is an investment contract and therefore a security.

29.      Verizon Communications v. Trinko, 540 U.S. 398 (2004).  Telecommunications Act of 1996; Antitrust; Sherman Act, §2.  Whether violation of interconnection agreement under Telecommunications Act of 1996 may be grounds for private treble damage action under §2 of the Sherman Act.  Standing of indirect purchasers to bring antitrust treble damage action.

30.      McConnell v. Federal Election Commission, 540 U.S. 93 (2003).  Elections Law; Campaign Finance; First Amendment.  Constitutionality of restrictions on contributions, and expenditures in connection with federal elections under the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002 (BCRA) (McCain-Feingold).

31.      Nike, Inc. v. Kasky, 539 U.S. 654 (2003).  First Amendment; Commercial Speech; Unfair Competition Law.  Constitutionality under First Amendment of California’s unfair competition and false advertising laws (Cal. Bus. and Prof. Code §17200 et seq.) in connection with suit by non-purchaser for alleged false claims in the marketplace.

32.      Grutter v. Bollinger, 539 U.S. 306 (2003).  Equal Protection Clause; Racial Discrimination; University Admissions; Affirmative Action.  Constitutionality under Equal Protection Clause of University of Michigan Law School use of racial preferences in admissions program.

33.      Gratz v. Bollinger, 539 U.S. 244 (2003).  Equal Protection Clause; Racial Discrimination; University Admissions; Affirmative Action.  Constitutionality under Equal Protection Clause of University of Michigan use of racial preferences in undergraduate admissions program.

34.      United States v. American Library Association, Inc., 539 U.S. 194 (2003).  First Amendment; Spending Clause; Internet; Sexually Explicit Material.  Constitutionality under the First Amendment of Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA), which conditions acceptance of federal funds by public libraries for internet connection on utilization of technology protection measures to screen access to visual depictions of sexually explicit material.

35.      Demore v. Kim, 538 U.S. 510 (2003).  Immigration; Detention of Removable Aliens; Due Process.  Constitutionality of 8 U.S.C. §1226(c) (Section 236(c) of the Immigration and Nationality Act), which permits detention of removable aliens convicted of aggravated felonies.

36.      Scheidler v. NOW; Operation Rescue v. NOW, 537 U.S. 393 (2003).  RICO; Hobbs Act; Extortion; Injunctions.  Scope of Hobbs Act; remedies available in civil actions under RICO.

37.      Smith v. Doe, 538 U.S. 84 (2003).  Double Jeopardy; Sexual Offender Registry; Megan’s Law.  Constitutionality under Double Jeopardy Clause of Alaska’s registration and notification requirements for convicted sex offenders (Megan’s Law).

38.      Connecticut Dept. of Public Safety v. Doe, 538 U.S. 1 (2003).  Due Process; Sexual Offender Registry; Megan’s Law.  Constitutionality under Due Process Clause of Connecticut’s registration and publication requirements for convicted sex offenders (Megan’s Law).

39.      Eldred v. Ashcroft, 537 U.S. 186 (2003).  Copyright Clause; First Amendment; Copyright Term Extension Act of 1998.  Constitutionality under Copyright Clause and First Amendment of Copyright Term Extension Act of 1998 (CTEA).

40.      United States v. Ruiz, 536 U.S. 622 (2002).  Fifth and Sixth Amendments; Fair Trial; Guilty Pleas; Appellate Jurisdiction.  Constitutional requirements with respect to whether guilty plea is voluntary and informed.

41.      Utah v. Evans, 536 U.S. 452 (2002).  Census; Statistical Sampling.  Constitutional and statutory limits on use of statistics in calculating outcome of 2000 census.

42.      Christopher v. Harbury, 536 U.S. 403 (2002).  Immunity of Public Officials; Bivens.  Qualified immunity of U.S. officials in Bivens cases.

43.      Zelman v. Simmons-Harris, 536 U.S. 639 (2002).  First Amendment; Establishment Clause; Schools Vouchers.  Constitutionality under First Amendment Establishment Clause of public tuition aid for students attending private schools.

44.      Tahoe-Sierra Preservation Counsel v. Tahoe Regional Planning Agency, 535 U.S. 302 (2002).  Fifth Amendment; Takings Clause.  Challenge to temporary moratoriums on the issuance of building permits.

45.      Ashcroft v. ACLU, 535 U.S. 564 (2002).  First Amendment; Pornography; Internet.  Constitutionality of Child On-line Protection Act (COPA) limits on availability to children of pornographic materials on internet.

46.      Verizon Communications, Inc. v. Federal Communications Commission, 535 U.S. 469 (2002).  Telecommunications Act of 1996; Fifth Amendment Takings Clause; Just Compensation.  Constitutionality and statutory legality of FCC regulations setting compensation systems for use of established telephone switching and other facilitators by new entrant competitors under Communications Act of 1996.

47.      Adarand Constructors, Inc. v. Slater, 534 U.S. 102 (2001).  Equal Protection; Justiciability; Standing.  Constitutionality under Due Process Clauses of Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments of racial set-asides in federally aided highway programs.

48.      Bush v. Gore, 531 U.S. 98 (2000).  Federal Presidential Elections; Equal Protection Clause.  Constitutionality under Equal Protection Clause and Article II of the Constitution of a Florida Supreme Court decision requiring a state-wide recount of ballots in Florida’s 2000 presidential election.

49.      Bush v. Palm Beach County Canvassing Board, 531 U.S. 70 (2000).  Federal Presidential Elections; Equal Protection Clause.  Constitutionality of Florida Supreme Court decision changing deadlines and procedures for the tabulation of ballots in Florida’s November 2000 presidential election.

50.      Vermont Agency of Natural Resources v. United States ex rel. Stevens, 529 U.S. 765 (2002).  Eleventh Amendment; False claims Act; Actions against States; Qui Tam.  Whether a private individual may bring suit in federal court against a state on behalf of the United States under the False Claims Act.  Federal False Claims Act qui tam action also raising the question whether a State is immune from such suits under the Eleventh Amendment.

51.      Rice v. Cayetano, 528 U.S. 495 (2000).  Voting Rights; Equal Protection; Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments.  Constitutionality under Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendment of Hawaiian legislation restricting voting in certain elections to citizens based on racial classifications.

52.      Gasperini v. Center for Humanities, Inc., 518 U.S. 418 (1996).  Seventh Amendment; Jury Trials; Excessive Damages; Appellate Review.  Whether the Seventh Amendment permits federal appellate courts in diversity cases to review jury verdicts for excessiveness and whether state or federal standards govern the scope of excessiveness review of such verdicts.

53.      Koon v. United States, 518 U.S. 81 (1996).  Sentencing Guidelines; District Court Discretion; Standard of Appellate Review.  Whether district court departure from sentencing range prescribed by U.S. Sentencing Guidelines is to be reviewed under abuse of discretion standard by federal appellate courts.

54.      United States v. Commonwealth of Virginia, 518 U.S. 515 (1996).  Fourteenth Amendment: Equal Protection Clause; Single-Sex Education; Gender Discrimination.  Whether Virginia Military Institute male-only admissions policy violates the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendments to the Constitution of the United States.

55.      Plaut v. Spendthrift Farms, 514 U.S. 211 (1995).  Due Process; Judgments; Finality.  Constitutionality of statute requiring federal courts to reopen final judgments in cases dismissed with prejudice pursuant to Supreme Court’s decision in Lampf, Pleva v. Gilbertson, 501 U.S. 350 (1991).

56.      Musick, Peeler & Garrett v. Employers Insurance of Wausau, 508 U.S.286 (1993).  Securities; Securities Exchange Act of 1934; Securities Fraud Contribution.  Contribution right of defendants in federal securities fraud cases under § 10(b) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934.

57.      Lampf, Pleva, Lipkind, Prupis & Petigrow v. Gilbertson, 501 U.S. 350 (1991).  Securities Act of 1934; Private Actions; Statute of Limitations.  Whether federal courts must apply federal securities law one year/three year statute of limitations rather than forum state statutes of limitations in cases arising under § 10(b) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934.

58.      State of California v. ARC Cement Corp., 490 U.S. 93 (1989).  Antitrust; Federal Preemption.  Whether federal antitrust laws preempted state actions.

59.      Bankers Life and Casualty Co. v. Crenshaw, 486 U.S. 71 (1988).  Eighth Amendment; Excessive Fines; Due Process; Punitive Damages.  Constitutionality under the Excessive Fines Clause of the Eighth Amendment and Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment of Mississippi punitive damage laws.

60.      California Federal Savings & Loan Association v. Guerra, 479 U.S. 272 (1987).  Sex Discrimination; Pregnancy; Federal Preemption.  Whether California’s pregnancy leave statute was preempted under the Supremacy Clause by Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended by the Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978.

61.      Aetna Life Insurance Co. v. Lavoie, 475 U.S. 813 (1986).  Due Process; Eighth Amendment; Excessive Fines; Contract Clause; Punitive Damages.  The constitutionality under the Eighth Amendment Excessive Fines Clause, the Contracts Clause, and the Fourteenth Amendment Due Process Clause of $3.5 million punitive damage award by Alabama courts.

62.      Garcia v. San Antonio Metropolitan Transit Authority, 469 U.S. 528 (1985).  Tenth Amendment Federalism; Fair Labor Standards.  Constitutionality under the Tenth Amendment of the application of the minimum wage and other employment standards of the Federal Fair Labor Standards Act to wages paid by the City of San Antonio to municipal transit workers.

Selected Cases Briefed But Not Argued

63.      Immigration and Naturalization Service v. Chadha, 462 U.S. 919 (1983).  Separation of Powers; Presentment Clause.  Constitutionality of legislative veto devices by which Congress reserved to itself or some component of Congress the power to reverse or alter Executive Branch actions without enacting substantive legislation.

64.      Metromedia, Inc. v. City of San Diego, 453 U.S. 490 (1981).  First Amendment; Freedom of Speech; Commercial Speech.  Constitutionality under the First Amendment the City of San Diego’s ordinance prohibiting billboard advertising.  See also Metromedia, Inc. v. City San Diego, 26 Cal. 3d 848 (1979).

Appellate Court Cases

  1. Rostack Investments, Inc. v. Sabella, Cal. Ct. App. (2016).  Contract dispute concerning forgiveness of $50 Million indebtedness.
  2. CTIA—The Wireless Ass’n v. City of Berkeley, ___ F. 3d ____ (9th Circ. 201_).  First Amendment and Supremacy Clause (preemption) challenge to mandatory Berkeley cell phone safety warning ordinance.
  3. Perry Capital v. Lew, ___ F. 3d ___ (D.C. Cir. 201__).  Action under Administrative Procedures Act challenging actions by Dept. of Treasury and Federal Housing Finance Agency to appropriate net profits of Federal National Mortgage Ass’n (“Fannie Mae”) and Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corp. (“Freddie Mac”).
  4. PHH Corp. v. Consumer Financial Protection Board, ___ F. 3d ____ (D.C. Cir. 2016).  Action to set aside disgorgement remedy for alleged violations of Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA), Due Process rights, and a declaration that structure of CFPB violates constitutional separation of powers.
  5. National Collegiate Athletic Ass’n v. Governor of New Jersey, ____F. 3d____ (3d Cir. 2016).  Rehearing en banc regarding the applicability and construction of the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (“PASPA”).
  6. Acorda Therapeutics v. Mylan Pharmaceuticals, ___ F. 3d ___(CAFC)(2016).  Personal jurisdictions patents.
  7. Boster Associates, Ltd. v. Dynamic Finance v. Vivien Chen, Calif. Ct. of Appeal, 2d App. Dist. (2015).  Personal jurisdiction, anti-SLAPP.
  8. Chevron v. Donziger, ___F. 3d ___ (2d Cir. 2016).  RICO-violation; remedies; injunction.
  9. National Collegiate Athletic Ass’n v. Governor of New Jersey, 799 F. 3d 259 (3d Cir. 2015).  Legality under federal statute. (Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act—PASPA—of New Jersey Sports betting enactments).
  10. In re Deepwater Horizon, ___F. 3d___ (5th Cir. 2015).  Judicial disqualification.
  11. EM, Ltd. v Banco Central de le Republica (Argentina), 800 F. 3d 78 (2d Cir. 2014).  Central Bank alter ego, Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act.
  12. Citizens United v. Gessler, 773 F. 3d 200 (10th Cir. 2014).  Constitutionality of Colorado registration and disclosure requirements respecting electioneering communications.
  13. Ev3 v. Lesh, 103 A. 3d 179 (Del. Sup. Ct., en banc 2014).  Parol evidence; admissibility of letter of intent in post-merger litigation.
  14. Bostic v. Schaeffer, 760 F. 3d 352 (4th Cir. 2014).  Constitutionality of Virginia’s laws restricting same-sex marriage under Fourteenth Amendment.
  15. Ev3 v. Lesh, (Del. Sup. Ct., panel argument, 2014).  Contract dispute, admissibility and binding effect of letter of intent.
  16. United States of America ex rel Absher v. Momence Meadows, 764 F. 3d 699 (7th Cir. 2014).  False Claims Act, “worthless services” claim.
  17. Nycal v. United States, 743 F. 3d 370 (Fed. Cir. 2014).  Contract dispute, oil exploration.
  18. In re Deepwater Horizon, 739 F. 3d 790 (5th Cir. 2013).  Class action settlement dispute.
  19. Chevron v. Donziger, ___F. 3d___ (2d Cir. 2013).  Recusal of federal judge.
  20. In re Deepwater Horizon, 732 F. 3d 326 (5th Cir. 2013).  Interpretation of class action settlement terms.
  21. National Collegiate Athletic Association v. Gov. of New Jersey, 730 F. 3d 208 (3d Cir 2013).  Constitutionality of Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (“PASPA”) under Tenth Amendment to United States Constitution.
  22. NML Capital, Ltd. v. Republic of Argentina, 727 F.3d 230 (2d Cir. 2013).  Scope and applicability of preliminary injunctive relief against Republic of Argentina and parties acting in concert or participating therewith.
  23. SunTrust Mortgage, Inc. v. United Guaranty Residential Insurance Co. of North Carolina, No. 11-1956, 2013 WL 388040 (4th Cir. 2013).  Whether parol evidence should have been considered in resolving a dispute over the meaning of an insurance contract, and whether the insured was correctly excused from paying nearly $100 million in premiums based on the doctrine of first material breach.
  24. NML Capital, Ltd. v. Republic of Argentina, 699 F.3d 246 (2d Cir. 2012).  Whether the Republic of Argentina can be ordered to specifically perform its contractual promise to “rank” its “payment obligations” to legacy creditors “at least equally” with its obligations under later-issued debt by requiring Argentina to pay its defaulted legacy creditors whenever it pays its preferred creditors.
  25. ZF Meritor LLC v. Eaton Corp., 696 F.3d 254 (3d Cir. 2012).  Whether sales agreements that award rebates conditioned on customers’ purchase of the majority of their needs from the defendant are immune from antitrust liability if the plaintiffs cannot prove that the defendant priced below cost.
  26. EM Ltd. v. Republic of Argentina, 695 F.3d 201 (2d Cir. 2012).  Whether the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act bars post-judgment discovery seeking information about the assets of a foreign sovereign judgment debtor, when such discovery is directed to non-sovereign, third-party commercial banks.
  27. ASCAP v. THP Capstar Acquisition Corp., 683 F.3d 32 (2d Cir. 2012).  Whether the district court set an unreasonably low rate for a license authorizing a background music services provider to publicly perform copyrighted musical works in the ASCAP repertory.
  28. Perry v. Brown, 671 F.3d 1052 (9th Cir. 2012).  Whether Proposition 8, which denies gay and lesbian individuals the right to marry under California law, violates the Equal Protection and Due Process Clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment.
  29. Perry v. Brown, 667 F.3d 1078 (9th Cir. 2012).  Whether the district court abused its discretion by unsealing the video recording of the twelve-day bench trial regarding the constitutionality of Proposition 8.
  30. Brady v. National Football League, 644 F.3d 661 (8th Cir. 2011).  Whether (i) the Norris-LaGuardia Act prohibited the district court from enjoining the NFL’s lockout of players; (ii) the non-statutory labor exemption to the Sherman Act shields the NFL from antitrust liability for the lockout and other concerted employment practices even though the players are no longer members of a labor union; and (iii) the district court should have abstained from enjoining the lockout until the NLRB rules on the NFL’s claim that the disclaimer of the union was a sham.
  31. Perry v. Brown, 52 Cal. 4th 1116 (2011).  Calif. Sup. Ct. on certification from 9th Circ.  Standing of ballot proponents to challenge adverse decision concerning constitutionality of ballot measure.
  32. United States v. Science Applications International Corporation, 626 F.3d 1257 (D.C. Cir. 2010).  Whether a contractor that submits concededly accurate claims for payment to the government can be held liable under the False Claims Act for purportedly making “implied” certifications of compliance with background conflict-of-interest obligations.
  33. NML Capital, Ltd. v. Banco Central de la Republica Argentina, 652 F.3d 172 (2d Cir. 2011).  Whether the central bank of Argentina is Argentina’s alter ego, and whether the assets of the central bank are therefore subject to attachment by Argentina’s creditors.
  34. NML Capital, Ltd. v. Republic of Argentina, 621 F.3d 230 (2d Cir. 2010).  Whether the Republic of Argentina must honor its agreement to pay a floating interest rate on certain bonds.
  35. Allied Orthopedic Appliances, Inc. v. Tyco Health Care Group L.P., 592 F.3d 991 (9th Cir. 2010).  Whether an alleged monopolist’s improvement in product design can ever constitute a violation of Section 2 of the Sherman Act.
  36. Aurelius Capital Partners, LP v. Republic of Argentina, 584 F.3d 120 (2d Cir. 2009).  Whether after the Argentine government nationalized its citizens’ pension assets in 2008, the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act permitted Argentina’s creditors to seize pension assets held in New York bank accounts to satisfy claims arising out of Argentina’s 2001 bond default.
  37. Masimo Corp. v. Tyco Healthcare Group, LP, 350 F. App’x 95 (9th Cir. 2008).  Whether Tyco Healthcare Group’s sole-source agreements with Group Purchasing Organizations, bundled discounts, and/or market-share discounts constituted anticompetitive exclusive dealing arrangements in violation of Section 1 of the Sherman Act or Section 3 of the Clayton Act, and/or constituted an unlawful monopoly broth in violation of Section 2 of the Sherman Act.
  38. Lebron v. Gottlieb Memorial Hospital, 930 N.E.2d 895 (Ill. 2008).  Whether the Illinois legislature violated the state constitution when it adopted several medical malpractice reforms, including a cap on non-economic damages.
  39. Kensington International Ltd. v. Itoua, 505 F.3d 147 (2d Cir. 2007).  Whether a foreign state-run oil company is immune from suit under the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act.
  40. Rossello v. Acevedo-Vila, 398 F. 3d 1 (1st Cir. 2004).  Election dispute concerning validity of ballots cast in Puerto Rico gubernatorial election.
  41. In re Sealed Case, 310 F.3d 711 (U.S. Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Ct. of Rev. 2002).  Legality of restrictions imposed on law enforcement and intelligence officials under Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.
  42. NextWave Personal Communications, Inc. v. FCC, 254 F.3d 130 (D.C. Cir. 2001).  Authority of the FCC to cancel licenses for non-payment of debts under United States Bankruptcy Code.
  43. Jimenez v. Daimler-Chrysler, 439 F.3d 439 (4th Cir. 2001).  Appeal of a $259 million product liability personal injury verdict against the DaimlerChrysler Corporation.
  44. California Federal Bank, FSB v. United States, 245 F.3d 1263 (Fed. Cir. 2001).  Recoverability of contract damages in connection with the enactment by Congress of the Financial Institutions Reform, Recovery, and Enforcement Act of 1989 (“FIRREA”).  Mr. Olson was lead counsel for California Federal Banks.
  45. Touchstone v. McDermott, 234 F.3d 1133 (11th Cir. 2000) (en banc).    Constitutionality under Equal Protection Clause and Article II of the Constitution of Florida’s procedures for recounting ballots cast in the 2000 presidential election.
  46. Nippon Steel Corp. v. United States, 219 F.3d 1348 (Fed. Cir. 2000).  Legality of U.S. Court of International Trade preliminary injunction prohibiting the Department of Commerce from conducting an anti-circumvention inquiry under the Trade Act of 1974, as amended.
  47. United States Telecom Ass’n v. FCC, 227 F.3d 450 (D.C. Cir. 2000).  This petition challenged an order of the Federal Communications Commission involving surveillance capabilities that telecommunications companies must provide to law enforcement agencies under the Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act.  Mr. Olson was lead counsel for the Cellular Telecommunications Industry Association and the Center for Democracy and Technology.
  48. Hotel Employees & Restaurants Employee Internat’l Union v. Wilson, 21 Cal. 4th 585 (1999).  Challenge to the constitutionality of Proposition 5, California’s Indian Gaming Initiative, adopted by California voters in November of 1998.
  49. United States v. Dispoz-o-Plastics, 172 F.3d 275 (3d Cir. 1999).  Appeal of conviction for violation of federal antitrust (price-fixing) laws.
  50. Berry v. Funk, 146 F.3d 1003 (D.C. Cir. 1998).  The availability of civil damages against government officials for violations of federal wiretapping laws (Title III of the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act of 1968,18 U.S.C. §§ 2510-2521).
  51. Deloitte & Touche v. Weller, 976 S.W.2d 22 (Tex. App.-Amarillo 1998, writ denied).  Court of Appeals for the Fourteenth District of Texas No. 14-95¬00581 CV.  Appeal of judgment against Deloitte & Touche for $78 million in compensatory and punitive damages for alleged negligence in preparing tax returns for tax shelter limited partnership.
  52. Gregory v. Beverly Enterprises, Inc., et al., Case No. 5376, California Superior Court, County of Siskiyou.  Post-trial motions and appeal of a $95 million verdict against a health care provider.
  53. Broussard v. Meineke Discount Muffler Shops, Inc., 155 F.3d 331 (4th Cir. 1998).  Appeal of a $390 million judgment in a case involving class action and franchising issues.
  54. Commonwealth of Virginia v. EPA, 108 F.3d 1397 (D.C. Cir. 1997).  Appeal by American Association of Automobile Manufacturers, the International Association of Automobile Manufacturers and the Commonwealth of Virginia of Environmental Protection Agency rulemaking concerning the regulation of vehicle emissions in 13 northeastern states.
  55. Continental Trend Resources, Inc. v. OXY USA, Inc., 101 F.3d 634 (10th Cir. 1996).  Appeal of a $30 million punitive damage award.
  56. Illinois Public Telecommunications Association v. FCC, 117 F.2d 555 (D.C. 1997).  Challenge by the Personal Communications Industry Association (paging companies) of Federal Communications Commission’s rule concerning payphones, which resulted in a decision vacating the FCC’s rule.
  57. Energy Association of New York State v. Public Service Commission of the State of New York, 169 Misc. 2d 924, 653 N.Y.S.2d 502, Albany County 1996.  Litigation involving a multi-billion dollar challenge to administrative orders deregulating and restructuring the electric utility industry in New York.
  58. Johnson v. Life Insurance Company of Georgia, No. 1940357 (Ala. 1997).  Appeal of $15 million punitive damage verdict against insurance company.
  59. Coalition for Economic Equity v. Wilson, 110 F.3d 1431 (9th Cir. 1997).  Appeal of the constitutionality of a state-wide initiative measure banning state-supported discrimination on the basis of race.
  60. Hopwood v. Texas, 78 F.3d 932 (5th Cir. 1996).  Petition for certiorari denied.  Holding that University of Texas School of Law admissions policies violate Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States.
  61. In re Oliver L. North (Reagan Fee Application), 94 F.3d 685 (D.C. Cir. Spec. Div. 1996).  Attorney’s fees awarded to former President Ronald Reagan in connection with Iran-Contra investigation.
  62. Wilson v. Eu, 1 Cal. 4th 707, 4 Cal.Rptr.2d 379, 823 P.2d 545 (1992).  Upholding California’s 1990 decennial reappointment and redistricting of its congressional and legislative districts.
  63. Johnston v. CIGNA Corp., 14 F.3d 486 (10th Cir. 1993).  Section 27A of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, enacted by Congress in 1991 to overrule in part the Supreme Court’s decision in the Lampf case and to disrupt final, unappeased judgments in certain cases, violates the constitutional separation of powers.
  64. Gray v. First Winthrop Corp., 989 F.2d 1564 (9th Cir. 1993).  Upholding the constitutionally of § 27A of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934.
  65. United States v. Pollard, 959 F.2d 1011 (D.C. Cir. 1992).  Appeal of conviction and sentencing of Jonathan J. Pollard on grounds of government violation of plea agreement.
  66. Robertson Oil Company, Inc. v. Phillips Petroleum Company, 14 F.3d 373 (8th Cir. 1993).  Constitutionality of $8 million punitive damage award and Arkansas punitive damage system.
  67. Hopkins v. Price Waterhouse, 920 F.2d 967 (D.C. Cir. 1990).  Whether title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 authorizes a federal court to order an individual admitted to a partnership in an accounting firm as a remedy for alleged sex discrimination.
  68. Bettius & Sanderson v. National Union Fire Insurance Co., 839 F.2d 1009 (4th Cir. 1988).  Challenge to $5 million punitive damage award for alleged bad faith breach of a professional liability insurance contract.
  69. Ticor Title Insurance Co. v. Federal Trade Commission, 814 F.2d 731 (D.C. Cir. 1987).  Challenge to the constitutionality of the law enforcement powers of the Federal Trade Commission on constitutional separation of powers grounds.
  70. Schlumberger Limited v. Superior Court, 115 Cal. App. 3d 386 (1981).  Attorney-client and attorney work product privileges in legal malpractice claims again a client’s former counsel.
  71. Metromedia v. City of San Diego, 26 Cal. 3d 848 (1980).  Rehearing.  Removability compensation for outdoor advertising displays under Federal Highway Beautification Act.
  72. Brown v. Petrolane, 102 Cal. App. 3d 720 (1980).  Issues connected with the operations of liquefied petroleum gas facility.
  73. Metromedia v. City of San Diego, 23 Cal 3d 762, 848, 855 (1979).  Cal Sup. Ct. Constitutionality of San Diego prohibition of outdoor advertising signs.
  74. Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher v. Superior Court, 94 Cal. App. 3d 347 (1979).  Whether attorneys retained to prosecute a professional malpractice action against a client’s former law firm may be sued for equitable indemnification.
  75. In re the Commission on the Governorship of the State of California (Brown v. Curb), 26 Cal. 3d 110 (1979).  Constitutionality (under the California Constitution) of actions by the Lt. Governor of California during the absence from the State of the Governor.
  76. Metromedia v. City of San Diego, 67 Cal App. 3d 84 (1977).  Constitutionality of City Ordinance prohibiting all off-premise sign advertising.
  77. Hammarley v. Superior Court, 89 Cal. App. 3d 388 (1979).  Writ of review to annul contempt judgment against newspaper report for refusal to comply with subpoena duces tecum.
  78. A-Mark, Inc. v. U.S. Secret Service Dept. of Treasury, 593 F. 2d 849 (9th Cir. 1978).  Federal Tort Claims Act.  Negligent damage to coin.
  79. Church of Scientology of California v. Adams, 584 F.2d 893 (9th Cir. 1978).  Defense of a libel suit against St. Louis Post Dispatch arising out of a series of newspaper articles regarding a religious organization.
  80. Chavez v. Citizens for a Fair Farm Labor Law, 84 Cal. App. 3d 77 (1978).  Defense of agriculture interests against claims for alleged fraud and election campaign misconduct arising out of opposition to a farm labor initiative.
  81. Fisher v. Pennsylvania Life Co., 69 Cal. App. 3d 506 (1977).  Fraud based on stock transaction.
  82. California Newspaper Publishers Association, Inc. v. City of Burbank, 51 Cal. App. 3d 50 (1975).  Challenge to the constitutionality of an ordinance restricting the placement of newspaper racks in the City of Burbank.
  83. Warfield v. McGraw Hill, 32 Cal. App. 3d 1041 (1973).  Defense of McGraw Hill and Aviation Week and Space Technology magazine in a libel action.
  84. Wells Fargo Bank v. Title Ins. & Trust Co., 22 Cal. App. 3d 295 (1971).  Litigation over entitlement to trust corpus.
  85. Gibson v. Savings & Loan Commissioner, 6 Cal App. 3d 269 (1970).  Shareholder challenge to savings and loan merger.


  • University of California – Berkeley – 1965 – Juris Doctor
  • University of the Pacific – Stockton – 1962 – Bachelor of Arts


  • California Bar
  • District of Columbia Bar

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