IN Brief

Longtime solicitor general leaves for the private sector

By: - August 2, 2023 3:48 pm

Solicitor General Tom Fisher is leaving the office after decades. (Whitney Downard/Indiana Capital Chronicle)

Indiana Solicitor General Thomas Fisher will leave for a “school choice” advocacy organization next month, after nearly two decades in his role with the Attorney General’s Office. He was the first to hold the position.

“It has been the professional honor of a lifetime to serve the people of Indiana as solicitor general, representing Hoosier values, common sense and the rule of law in courts here and across the nation,” Fisher said in a news release Wednesday.

“I am grateful to Attorney General Rokita and his predecessors — Attorneys General Hill, Zoeller and Carter — for affording me this challenging and gratifying opportunity,” he continued. “The people of Indiana are fortunate to have had such distinguished and visionary leaders as these to handle the important legal affairs of our state.”

The solicitor general serves as the attorney general’s chief litigation policy adviser, according to the office’s website. Duties also include handling major cases involving constitutional challenges or those of “vital interest” to the state; making recommendations on legal positions and appeals for civil cases; and more.

Then-Attorney General Steve Carter appointed Fisher to the new job in July of 2005, according to his alma mater. But he first joined the office in February 2001.

As solicitor general, Fisher led the state’s legal defense of its voter identification requirement laws before the Supreme Court of the United States — Indiana pioneered that movement. He also defended the state’s voucher law and its new abortion ban before the Indiana Supreme Court, among others.

He’s authored dozens of amicus curiae briefs in the U.S. Supreme Court and lower courts, according to the news release.

“The people of Indiana received an incalculable level of value from Tom’s service,” Attorney General Todd Rokita said. “He is a highly skilled and talented lawyer who could have made millions of dollars with his God-given talents over the last 20 years. Instead, he put those talents to good use for the people of Indiana, and as Hoosiers we couldn’t be more thankful.”

Fisher now moves to EdChoice, an Indianapolis-based nonprofit that advocates for education strategies that allow parents to enroll their children in schools other than their assigned district public schools, often using public funding.

The so-called “school choice” movement saw a major win in Indiana this legislative session when lawmakers authorized a voucher buildout that advocates said makes the program virtually universal.

“I am a lawyer who believes in a calling,” Fisher said. “And after two decades in the Office of Attorney General, I have been called to advance the cause of liberty on a new front.”

Rokita’s office said it was conducting a “nationwide search” for a successor.


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Leslie Bonilla Muñiz
Leslie Bonilla Muñiz

Leslie joins the Indiana Capital Chronicle after covering city government and urban affairs for the Indianapolis Business Journal for more than a year. She graduated from Northwestern University in March 2021, and has reported for the Chicago Tribune, Voice of America and student publications in Evanston, Illinois, Washington, D.C., and Doha, Qatar.