NOW Spotlight on Supreme Court Candidates: Pamela Karlan

By Jami Laubich, Communications Intern

In addition to calling for more women justices, NOW would like to see an openly-gay liberal to join the United States Supreme Court. Fortunately, Pamela Karlan is just that.

Her educational background includes receiving her BA from Yale University in 1980, her MA from Yale’s Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, and finally her JD from Yale Law School in 1984. Karlan served as a law clerk to Justice Harry A. Blackmun of the U.S. Supreme Court and Judge Abraham D. Sofaer of the U.S. District Court of New York. Turning to teaching in 1998, she became a professor of law at the University of Virginia School of Law.

Currently a Stanford Law professor, Karlan is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and of the American Law Institute. She has been both an assistant counsel and cooperating attorney for the NAACP Legal Defense Fund. She was also a commissioner on the California Fair Political Practices Commission. At Stanford she founded the Supreme Court Litigation Clinic, allowing students realistic opportunities for hands-on learning. Having authored over 48 scholarly articles and co-authored three books on constitutional law, Karlan is highly qualified, and her appointment to the court would most definitely assure that Justice Stevens’ seat would remain in the liberal camp.

Karlan told Politico, “all things being equal, I would think that the president would make the Supreme Court both more ideologically diverse than it now is and also more demographically diverse. … It would include women and people who haven’t spent their whole lives in Washington. It would include members of racial and ethnic minorities. This court has in some ways the most narrow background of any court in American history. We don’t have anybody who has held elected office. We don’t have anybody who has extensive trial experience really. There are a lot of things this court is missing.”

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