The following is an excerpt from Mark Joseph Stern | October 25, 2017 | Slate.com |
Over the past five days, Judge Patricia Millett performed the judicial equivalent of a triple axel. Millett, who sits on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, first dissented from a decision by a three-judge panel delaying an undocumented minor’s abortion. Her dissent was so powerful that when the full D.C. Circuit eventually reversed the panel’s ruling, it did nothing more than explain in a single paragraph that Millett had it right. The judge then took a well-earned victory lap, penning a trenchant concurrence that excoriated her conservative colleague’s anti-abortion, anti-immigrant casuistry. Her brilliant performance secured a vulnerable young woman’s right to bodily autonomy. It should also earn Millett a spot at the very top of the Supreme Court shortlist the next time a Democratic president gets tasked with making a selection.
Even before Millett’s recent triumph, the 54-year-old judge was widely recognized as a Supreme Court contender. Her resume is sterling: She graduated from Harvard Law, clerked on the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, and worked at the Department of Justice preparing and arguing appellate cases. She then served as an assistant to the solicitor general, ultimately arguing 25 cases before the Supreme Court. Millett then took a job at the prestigious firm Akin Gump in 2007 and continued to argue before the justices. In June 2013, President Barack Obama nominated her, along with Robert L. Wilkins and Nina Pillard, to the D.C. Circuit. That December, Democrats eliminated the filibuster for lower-court nominees in order to confirm the trio.
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