President Joe Biden on Friday nominated Julie Rikelman, who argued the case for the Mississippi clinic before the Supreme Court in the case that led to the overturning of the landmark Roe v. Wade ruling, for a post on an US appeals court.
Rikelman’s nomination comes a month after the Supreme Court ruled there is no longer a nationwide right to obtain an abortion. Rikelman represented the Mississippi clinic – the last in the state – that challenged a state law barring abortion after 15 weeks.
As part of his 24th round of judicial nominees, Biden nominated Rikelman for the Boston-based 1st US Circuit Court of Appeals.
The President nominated seven nominees in total and touted the ongoing ethnic and legal diversity of the picks.
Friday’s slate includes Judge Daniel Calabretta, who, if confirmed, would be the first LGBT judge to serve on the US District Court for the Eastern District of California. It also includes Araceli Martinez-Olguin, who would be the second Latina to serve on the US District Court for the Northern District of California if confirmed. And if confirmed, Judge Rita Lin would be the second Asian American woman – and the first Chinese American woman – to serve on the United States District Court for Northern District of California, the White House said.
Maria Araújo Kahn was nominated for the 2nd US Circuit Court of Appeals and Jeffrey Hopkins was picked for the US District Court for the Southern District of Ohio. The White House said it intends to nominate Todd Edelman for the District of the District of Columbia.
Rikelman currently serves as senior litigation director for the Center for Reproductive Rights and is considered one of the best abortion rights attorneys in the country. Biden’s move suggests an effort to bolster the bench with an expert on the issue at a time when more than half the states are prepared to ban if not further restrict the procedure.
“In addition to challenging bans and clinic closing laws around the country, Julie’s other litigation work at the Center has included leading the Center’s efforts against invasive ultrasound laws, fighting to preserve access to medication abortion, and defending the rights of young people in Florida and Alaska to make their own reproductive health decisions,” her biography on the Center for Reproductive Rights’ website said.
Rikelman, the White House said, previously worked for NBC Universal and was born in Kiev, Ukraine, immigrating to the US with her family in 1979.