Neal Katyal, the Indian-Origin Lawyer Against Trump’s Travel Ban

The Washington DC attorney has also appeared in ‘The Colbert Report’ and ‘House of Cards’.

When you Google Neal Katyal, you assume there must be two men with the same name because alongside the standard Wikipedia entry and his profile on Hogan Lovells (the firm at which he is a partner), you also find an IMDB listing. That can’t be right, can it? Except it is.

The Washington DC attorney, who’s currently in the news for representing Hawaii in the case that led to the ruling by a federal judge halting US President Donald Trump’s revised travel ban has, among other things, done a bit of acting. His IMDB page says he “is known for his work on Secrecy (2008), The Colbert Report (2005) and House of Cards (2013).” On all these, he guest-starred as himself.

Neal Katyal was born to Indian immigrant parents in the city of Chicago in Illinois, USA. He teaches at the Gerogetown University Law Centre. He served as Acting Solicitor General of the United States under the Obama administration between 2010 and 2011.

One would then expect him, based on prior Democratic Party affiliations, to be critical of the current Republican Trump administration. But only a month ago, he created a stir when he wrote an article in The New York Times backing Trump’s Supreme Court nominee Neil M Gorsuch. For that particular opinion, he received flak from the Democrats side of the spectrum.

Regardless of his endorsement of Gorsuch, Katyal’s Twitter account certainly shows a man who is critical of the current administration.

In the past, Katyal has been critical of the US detention centre Guantanamo Bay, and has argued in 2006 that it has violated the Geneva Conventions. The Washington Free Beacon, an aggressively conservative American political journalism website, carried an article about him titled, ‘Hawaii Hires Al Qaeda’s Best Lawyer to Lead Suit Against Trump’. Clearly his politics doesn’t appeal to everybody.

But a tweet on his timeline, seems to reiterate his stand after the Hawaii win for those who disagree with him. It is simply the title of a song by The Decemberists – ‘This is Why We Fight’ – and a link that takes you to the music video.