Jul 29, 2022 - Politics & Policy

Biden nominates abortion rights lawyer to be federal judge

Picture of Julie Rikelman

Julie Rikelman. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

President Biden is nominating Julie Rikelman, the attorney who represented the abortion clinic in the Supreme Court case that resulted in the overturning Roe v. Wade, to serve as judge in the First Circuit Court of Appeals.

The big picture: Rikelman currently works as the senior director of U.S. litigation for the Center for Reproductive Rights, an abortion rights organization that is behind several active lawsuits challenging state abortion bans.

  • The clinic that Rikelman represented in the Dobbs case — Jackson Women's Health Organization — has shut down, leaving Mississippi with no abortion clinics.
  • Mississippi currently bans nearly all abortions. The state's trigger law took effect shortly after the fall of Roe.

Background: Rikelman, who was born in Ukraine, received her J.D. from Harvard Law School.

  • Previous to her work with the Center for Reproductive Rights, she held various positions within NBC Universal, including vice president of litigation.

Between the lines: Rikelman's nomination comes after Biden received backlash from Democrats for considering nominating Chad Meredith, a lawyer who has defended Kentucky's restrictive abortion laws, to serve as a federal judge in the state.

  • The president has since dropped the plan to nominate Meredith, The New York Times reports.
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