Attorney General Ken Paxton today announced that he has appointed current Texas Assistant Solicitor General Kyle Hawkins to serve as Solicitor General. Hawkins succeeds Scott Keller, who accepted an offer to join Baker Botts as a partner in the law firm’s Washington D.C. office.

“Since joining the attorney general’s office in 2017, Kyle Hawkins has used his legal expertise to fight federal overreach, uphold the rule of law and defend Texas in a number of important cases impacting our state and citizens,” Attorney General Paxton said. “Kyle’s experience as assistant solicitor general and his background in private practice and as a law clerk to U.S. Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito have fully prepared him to continue the great work Scott Keller has done as Texas Solicitor General.”

Hawkins previously practiced law in the Washington, D.C. and Dallas offices of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher, where he was a member of the appellate and constitutional law practice group. Besides serving as a law clerk to Justice Alito, Hawkins also clerked for the Hon. Edith Jones of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit. Hawkins is a graduate of the University of Minnesota Law School and Harvard College.

“I’m deeply grateful to Attorney General Paxton for giving me the opportunity to serve as Solicitor General,” Hawkins said. “I’m grateful to Scott for his leadership and mentorship, and I am excited to continue to represent the interests of the State of Texas.” 

Appointed solicitor general by Attorney General Paxton in January 2015, Keller has argued 11 times before the U.S. Supreme Court. During his time as Solicitor General, Keller obtained major legal victories for Texas on the unlawful Obama-era immigration policy known as DAPA, Texas’s redistricting maps, Texas’s voter-ID law, illegal Environmental Protection Agency Clean Power Plan and Regional Haze rules, the Texas law banning sanctuary cities, and the state’s public school-funding system. In just this past year at the Texas Supreme Court, Keller argued five cases and won them all.

“Scott Keller has handled some of the most important and complicated litigation our state has seen in recent years, and achieved a career’s worth of incredible success in just over three years as solicitor general,” Attorney General Paxton said. “Scott is a brilliant legal mind who could work anywhere, but fortunately he chose to serve the state of Texas and its citizens. We should all be grateful to him for his superlative record of public service.”

Prior to becoming solicitor general, Keller served as U.S. Senator Ted Cruz’s chief counsel. He clerked for U.S. Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy, was a Bristow Fellow in the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of the Solicitor General, and clerked for Chief Judge Alex Kozinski of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit. Keller received a bachelor’s degree in political science and philosophy from Purdue University and a law degree from The University of Texas School of Law.

“It has been a distinct honor to serve as Solicitor General, and I will be forever grateful that Attorney General Paxton trusted me with representing 28 million Texans in courts throughout our nation. The dedicated and talented lawyers and staff serving in the Office of the Solicitor General are in great hands with Kyle.”

The solicitor general’s office has its share of notable alumni, including U.S. Senator Ted Cruz and current 5th Circuit Judges James C. Ho, Kyle Duncan and Andy Oldham. Current Deputy Solicitor General Cam Barker is awaiting Senate confirmation to become a judge on the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas.