William S. Consovoy, an influential conservative lawyer who grew up in Florham Park, died on January 9 after a two-year battle with brain cancer. He was 48.
Consovoy was the son of Andrew Consovoy, a former top aide to Gov. Thomas H. Kean and an architect of Kean’s 1985 landslide re-election victory. His late grandfather, George B. Consovoy, served as mayor of Franklin Township in Somerset County from 1960 to 1963 and as the longtime GOP municipal chairman.
He served as a law clerk Judge Edith Jones of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit and then for U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas.
As an attorney, Consovoy helped challenge the University of Texas’ use of race in admissions, and in Shelby v. Holder, the Voting Rights Act. He defended Georgia’s heartbeat law that banned abortion at six weeks, Kansas’ decision to pull funding from Planned Parenthood, and Alabama’s bid to stop the revitalization of the Equal Rights Amendment.
He was set to argue a challenge to Harvard University’s affirmative action policies last year when health issues caused him to withdraw.
After working at Riley Rein, he founded his own law firm, Consovoy McCarthy, based in Arlington, Virginia. He represented the Republican National Committee and other GOP candidates and argued multiple times before the U.S. Supreme Court. He sought to stop California from sending vote-by-mail ballots to every voter, as well as Florida’s bid to re-enfranchise felons and Wisconsin’s efforts to extend VBM deadlines.
Consovoy represented President Donald Trump in his bid to stop the congressional committees from obtaining taxing returns.
He graduated from Monmouth University before becoming part of the first graduating class of the Antonin Scalia Law School at George Mason University.