Administration

Biden taps Julie Rikelman, abortion rights lawyer involved in Dobbs case, for appellate court position

Julie Rikelman addresses the press outside the Supreme Court for oral arguments in Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health in December.
Joy Asico/AP Images for the Center for Reproductive Rights
Julie Rikelman addresses the press outside the Supreme Court for oral arguments in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health in December.

President Biden is nominating Julie Rikelman, who represented the abortion clinic in the Supreme Court case that would ultimately overturn Roe v. Wade, for a judgeship on the 1st Circuit Court of Appeals, which is based in Boston.

Rikelman serves as the litigation director at the Center for Reproductive Rights and previously worked at NBC Universal as vice president of litigation. 

A Harvard College and Harvard Law School alumnae, she previously clerked for Justice Dana Fabe on the Alaska Supreme Court and Judge Morton Greenberg on the 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals. 

The judicial nomination was applauded by legal groups and Democratic lawmakers.

“Restoring our democracy and abortion access will require judges who will defend justice and secure our rights. Julie Rikelman is the champion we need for a federal judiciary seat,” the National Women’s Law Center tweeted

“At a time when reproductive rights are under attack, Julie Rikelman is an exceptional nominee for this moment. She will be a welcome addition to the First Circuit Court of Appeals,” Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) wrote on Twitter

The judicial nomination comes one month since the Supreme Court eliminated the constitutional right to an abortion after hearing the case Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health, prompting Republican-led states to crack down on the procedure, while Democrat-led ones have sought to protect it. 

Biden’s nomination of Rikelman also comes after news outlets reported that the White House had intended to nominate Chad Meredith, who is anti-abortion, for a federal judgeship to the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky on the same day that the Supreme Court would make its Dobbs ruling.

Rep. John Yarmuth (D-Ky.) previously told the Louisville-based Courier-Journal that he thought the nomination of Meredith was a part of a deal between Biden and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), but the White House ultimately never nominated the anti-abortion candidate. 

Tags Abortion Abortion ruling Biden Biden nominations Biden nominees Dobbs v. Jackson Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization Judicial nominations Roe Roe v. Wade Supreme Court

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