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December Alumni Spotlight
Scott Keller, 2013 Lincoln Fellow
For our first alumni spotlight, we check in with Lincoln Fellow Scott Keller, currently serving as Solicitor General of Texas. Scott tells us about his important work defending the Constitution before the Supreme Court, shares his favorite memories of his time with Claremont, and weighs in on the upcoming NCAA Championship.
What is your current position?
Solicitor General of Texas
What inspired you to choose this career path?
In high school, I did the American Legion's oratorical competition that involved writing speeches about the Constitution. Then in college, I took two semesters of constitutional law from a fantastic professor (William McLauchlan at Purdue), who used the Socratic Method as if it were a law school course. From that point, I knew I wanted to be an appellate lawyer working on big constitutional cases.
What are you currently working on?
I'm preparing for an oral argument in the U.S. Supreme Court (Evenwel v. Abbott) regarding the one-person, one-vote doctrine. [Check out this Los Angeles Times article about the case and Scott's work]
How did you hear about the Claremont Institute?
Friends and co-workers had participated in the Claremont Institute's programs, and they suggested that I apply for the Lincoln Fellowship. I was very grateful for the opportunity to be a Lincoln Fellow, and it showed me the Claremont Institute's unique perspective focusing on the promise of the Declaration of Independence.
What’s your fondest memory of the Claremont Institute?
The week I spent with my co-Fellows during the Lincoln Fellowship. We had engaging discussions about how to improve our country, and the Fellowship let us meet a diverse group of very talented individuals dedicated to the ideals of the Claremont Institute.
There are all sorts of educational programs out there for current and rising conservative professionals. What do you think makes the Claremont Institute’s Fellowships unique?
The Claremont Institute is well aware of the power of government, yet it understands that a perspective from outside Washington, D.C. allows a healthy, objective assessment of government. At the same time, the Claremont Institute's focus on the ideals of the Declaration of Independence provides a unique lens for examining American history.
If you could have a drink with an American Founder, or any great thinker, who would it be, why, and what would you order?
You always need to return to first principles and check your premises, so I'd have a drink with Aristotle. As for what I'd order, my Dad's side of my family is from Bardstown, Kentucky. So we'd introduce Aristotle to a good American libation: single barrel bourbon--neat.
You went to Purdue; how confident are you that the Boilermakers can make a run at the NCAA College Basketball National Championship this year?
This is a special team that can make a deep tournament run. 7-foot senior center AJ Hammons and backup center 7-2 sophomore Isaac Haas are going to give teams problems all year. Freshman phenom Caleb "Biggie" Swanigan at power forward has an amazing story of overcoming a disadvantaged past to be one of the nation's top recruits. And I haven't even started talking about the rest of the team that has already proven it can hit 3's and play lock-down defense. My Boilers are going to give any team trouble in the NCAA tournament.