Lisa Blatt: A common female voice at the Supreme Court
Last week, Lisa Blatt of Arnold & Porter, argued her 30th case in front of the U.S. Supreme Court. While it is uncommon for anyone to argue this many Supreme Court cases in their career, it is particularly rare among women. Blatt is now the record holder among all living women, but still trailing Beatrice Rosenberg, a lawyer for the Justice Department, who argued cases in the 1950’s and 1960’s. Among the elite group of lawyers who specialize in Supreme Court cases, few are women. Eighty-five percent of all oral arguments are conducted my men. Among active lawyers, 20 men are ahead of Blatt. The leader among all active lawyers is Edwin Kneedler, who has worked in the Solicitor General’s office since 1979, with 111. The all-time record holder is Lawrence G. Wallace, now retired, with 157. When asked why women are so outnumbered, Blatt suggested several reasons, including the opinion that women may not enjoy the verbal jousting required. Patricia Mallet, another prominent female attorney who is just behind Blatt with 28 cases, added that women may self-select out of these types of careers, especially when family demands take priority. Many lawyers who argue cases in front of the Court have had prior experience as a Supreme Court law clerk or a Justice Department lawyer, but both of these potential springboards are also dominated by men. Since 1990, however, about one third of U.S Supreme Court law clerks have been women, and currently, 12 serve in this role. Of course, for the first time in our nation’s history three women sit as Justices on our Supreme Court. In the LawBlog of the Wall Street Journal, Vanessa O’Connell questioned Lisa Blatt about her children and what they thought of her work. Her son asked,” Mommy, why do you have to have so may arguments? Why can’t you have agreements?” We at TeenJury congratulate Attorney Blatt on her accomplishments.