The Reagan Administration this week tapped the Law School's leading expert on federal court procedures to become a key assistant in the Solicitor General's office.
As Deputy Solicitor General, Paul M. Bator, Bromley Professor of Law, will prepare and present cases to the Supreme Court, and will help devise legal strategy for the federal government.
Solicitor General Rex Lee said yesterday that his office sought Bator after the position opened up earlier this year because "he is one of the leading legal scholars in the country." Lee added that Bator has demonstrated that he concurs with President Reagan's views that the federal courts have overstepped their bounds in taking on too many state court cases.
The 53 year old professor will continue teaching this semester, consulting periodically with the Solicitor General's office. He will begin working in Washington full-time in January.
In addition to his deputy post, Bator will serve as counselor to Lee and consequently one of two top aides in the Solicitor General's office. The Solicitor General, whose chief responsibility is to present the federal government's case before the Supreme Court, is the fourth ranking official in the Justice Department.
Bator, who has had little actual litigation experience, said yesterday he is taking the job chiefly to further his academic work. "I am a student of the Supreme Court, and this gives me an opportunity to study that in a different context," he explained.
The 20-year Law School professor plans to retain his position at the University, and will petition for an 18-month leave.
Shortly after graduation in 1956 from the Law School--where he was president of the Law Review--Bator clerked for Supreme Court Justice John Harlan. He became a full professor at Harvard five years later and has since gained national prominence for his work, which included authoring the basic text used in law schools on federal jurisdiction.
The office has yet to decide which specific areas Bator will work on, and one side said that unlike the four other deputies, the professor will be giving legal advice to staff members as well as simply preparing and arguing cases.
Former President John F. Kennedy '40 also turned to Harvard to Bolster, his legal office, picking Archibaid Cox, Loeb University Professor '43 his Solicitor General. Cox was unavailable for comment yesterday