The former Solicitor General of West Virginia, Elbert co-leads the firm’s Issues and Appeals practice. He has been on the front lines of many precedent-setting cases in appellate courts across the country, including in a US Supreme Court victory that George Will called “the court’s most severe rebuke of a president” since the Truman administration. The “legal whiz” (E&E News 2017) brings to clients a well-honed ability to identify the most persuasive issues for appeal and a practiced understanding of how best to frame complex legal questions in appellate courts.
With experience in the private sector and multiple branches of government, Elbert’s practice has spanned a wide range of issues, including major questions of constitutional and administrative law at the federal and state levels. On behalf of more than two dozen states, he won a stay from the US Supreme Court of the EPA’s Clean Power Plan. Described by the New York Times as an “unprecedented” order, the stay was the first time the Supreme Court had ever put a regulation on hold before review by a federal appeals court. In that same case, Elbert argued before the en banc DC Circuit in an historic proceeding that one commenter compared to “the NBA All-Star Game” (E&E News 2016). At the state level, Elbert recently led the effort that persuaded the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals to overturn an injunction of the state’s right-to-work law.
In 2013, Elbert was appointed the Solicitor General of West Virginia. During his four-and-a-half year tenure, Elbert served as a member of the Attorney General’s senior management team, oversaw all civil and criminal appeals, and argued nearly two dozen cases in federal and state appellate courts. He authored more than twenty-five briefs in the US Supreme Court and more than forty-five formal Opinions of the Attorney General.
Earlier in his career, Elbert was a partner in the appellate and communications litigation groups of a national law firm and served as a trial attorney in the Federal Programs Branch of the US Department of Justice’s Civil Division, where he received a Special Service Award. He has also been a law clerk at all three levels of the federal judiciary: for Justice Clarence Thomas on the US Supreme Court; for Judge William H. Pryor Jr. on the US Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit; and for Senior Judge Robert E. Keeton on the US District Court for the District of Massachusetts.
Elbert speaks regularly on a wide variety of topics, including constitutional law, administrative law, environmental law, state and federal relations, the US Supreme Court, and appellate practice. He has testified before Congress, and has spoken at the national conventions of the American Bar Association, the Association of Corporate Counsel, the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association, the Federalist Society, Americans for Prosperity, and the American Legislative Exchange Council.
Elbert is admitted to practice in the following federal courts: the Supreme Court of the United States; the First, Second, Third, Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, Ninth, Eleventh, D.C., and Federal Circuits; the District of Massachusetts; and the Northern and Southern Districts of West Virginia.