Lawyer course

Biden nominates lawyer who argued for Supreme Court abortion clinic for judgeship

President Joe Biden nominated Julie Rikelman, who argued the case for Mississippi’s last abortion clinic before the Supreme Court in the case that led to the 1973 law being struck down. Roe vs. Wade decision, for a position on the United States Court of Appeals for the 1st Circuit, based in Boston.

The president’s nomination of Rikelman came in his 24th round of judicial nominations and nearly a month after the High Court ruled to allow states to impose laws that severely limit or restrict abortion access. for women. Rikelman was the legal counsel for the Jackson Women’s Health Organization clinic which sought to challenge the state law banning abortion after 15 weeks.


Center for Reproductive Rights litigation director Julie Rikelman, who represented the Jackson Women’s Health Organization, Mississippi’s only abortion clinic, before the Supreme Court, was nominated to the United States Court of Appeals for the 1st circuit.

Andrew Harnik/AP

Rikelman’s nomination by the president was joined by another appeals court nominee and seven other district court nominees, bringing the president’s total number of federal judicial nominees to 132 since taking office. function.

Among the nominees on Friday was Judge Daniel Calabretta, who, if confirmed, would be the first LGBT judge to serve on the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California. Biden has championed diversity as one of the highest priorities for his judicial picks, saying there is a need for federal justice to resemble the diverse backgrounds represented in the United States.

Supreme Court

This artist’s sketch depicts the Center for Reproductive Rights’ Director of Litigation, Julie Rikelman, addressing the Supreme Court, Wednesday, Dec. 1, 2021, in Washington.

Dana Verkouteren/AP

Rikelman’s track record is also notable given growing legal challenges in state and federal courts since the June 24 Supreme Court ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization.

A graduate of Harvard Law School and Harvard College, Rikelman is Senior Director of Litigation for the Center for Reproductive Rights.

“In addition to challenging bans and clinic closure laws nationwide, Julie’s other litigation work at the Center has included leading the Center’s efforts against invasive ultrasound laws, fighting to preserve the access to medical abortion and advocating for the rights of young people in Florida and Alaska to make their own reproductive health decisions,” according to a biography on the center’s webpage.


Biden’s judicial nomination process has been a race against time as November’s midterm elections approach. If Republicans regain the Senate, they have the power to prevent Biden’s nominees from winning confirmation.

Rikelman’s appointment is a notable shift from Biden’s previous plan to appoint an anti-abortion judge to the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky. The White House last week confirmed that the judge’s deal between Biden and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) was no longer being considered, following outrage from the left and objections from Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) about the “secrecy”. OK.”