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Where Have All of the Pro-Choice Lawyers Gone? An Analysis of Post-Roe Reproductive Rights Lawyering

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A body of scholarship attests to the importance of experienced litigators before the U.S. Supreme Court. In this article, we specifically consider the role of experienced litigators in the thirty years of reproductive rights litigation that followed Roe v Wade. To that end, we divide the lawyers by their pro-choice or pro-life affiliations and ask (1) how often individual lawyers appear before the Court in reproductive rights cases, (2) who the lawyers arguing these case before the Supreme Court are, and (3) how their participation has changed over time. We find changes in the pro-choice and pro-life bars that mirror the reproductive rights movement at large. Pro-choice groups, which once employed a stable of elite lawyers with significant expertise, have been decimated by the retirements of pro-choice counsel with no lawyers emerging to replace them. At the same time, the pro-life bar and pro-life groups appear to be developing a strong litigation campaign complete with experienced litigators.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Professor of Political Science at American University 2: University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Publication date: July 1, 2007


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