PHC alumnus James Barta (Government, Political Theory Track, '10) was named Solicitor General of Indiana in November 2023. “I think what I did as a political theory major [at PHC] gave an excellent grounding to be able to understand what are the principles and theory behind the American experiment, our system of government, [and] our courts,” Barta said. “That is something I really think was valuable in law school and where I am now.”
He said that PHC’s quality classes provided him with skills that helped him excel in law school and in the positions he held leading up to his role as solicitor general.
In high school, Barta wanted to attend a conservative liberal arts college with a rigorous education. After he attended PHC’s Moot Court and Constitutional Law teen camps, he was sold. “I was really captivated by both the quality of education and the purpose of the students, and I thought this would be a good place to learn and grow,” he said.
After PHC, Barta graduated magna cum laude from Georgetown University Law Center, then clerked for judges in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit and the U.S. District Court of the eastern district of Michigan. Then, he worked as an associate and partner at MoloLamken, LLP, and as an adjunct professor of law at Georgetown University Law Center, teaching “Conservatism in the Law in America.” A year and a half ago, he started working as a deputy solicitor general in Indiana.
Barta’s recent promotion to solicitor general gives him responsibility for more court cases, in addition to having a more active role in shaping legal policy for the office. His primary duties include representing the state in important cases, helping coordinate legal positions for the state, and providing input as the office formulates policy on legal matters. He works with his office to defend the constitutionality of state statutes, make recommendations to the attorney general about joining amicus briefs, and determine what stances to take on legislation.
Barta said that PHC prepared him both for law school and for his role now by giving him writing experience. He mentioned writing 25-page papers during his junior and senior years at PHC, in addition to a senior thesis, while many of his classmates in law school hadn’t written longer than 5- to 10-page papers. Barta also explained how discussion-based classes at PHC taught him to think critically, in preparation for law school.
“Being able to synthesize information—to read it critically—is something that is essential to what I’m doing now and did in law school,” he said. “And as I found in law school, it’s not something a lot of colleges prepare people for.”
Patrick Henry College exists to glorify God by challenging the status quo in higher education, lifting high both faith and reason within a rigorous academic environment; thereby preserving for posterity the ideals behind the "noble experiment in ordered liberty" that is the foundation of America.