Supreme Court Women: A Vet & 1st-Timer Talk Gender Disparity

Supreme Court Women: A Vet & 1st-Timer Talk Gender Disparity

By Annie Pancak | October, 12 2018

In exclusive on-camera interviews with Law360, Nicole Saharsky, the most prolific female U.S. Supreme Court advocate of the past decade, and Jennifer Bennett, who argued her first case before the justices this month, break down what it means to be among an elite group of female high court advocates.

A Law360 analysis found that the number of arguments made by a woman in the Supreme Court hit a decade low last term, dropping to 12 percent for the October 2017 term. The percentage of women arguing before the court over the last 10 terms stands at 17 percent.

Saharsky is a co-chair of Gibson Dunn's appellate practice. She worked for ten years at the solicitor general's office, where she argued 29 cases in front of the Supreme Court — 27 of those in the past 10 terms, more than any other women during that time period. She is the only woman to be among the top 10 most frequent advocates of the last decade.

Bennett is a staff attorney at Public Justice, where she began her career after several clerkships, including for Ninth Circuit Judge Marsha Berzon. She argued her first case in the Supreme Court on Oct. 3, representing a proposed class action of truckers in New Prime v. Oliveira, a dispute over a Federal Arbitration Act exemption.

Annie Pancak is a data reporter for Law360 who also contributed to the first installment in this special report. Editing by Jocelyn Allison and Rebecca Flanagan.

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