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Consovoy McCarthy’s Meehan Among Few Women Tapped by Justices

June 29, 2021, 8:59 PM

The U.S. Supreme Court invited Consovoy McCarthy lawyer Taylor Meehan to argue in an immigration case, making her one of the few females ever asked by the justices to appear as an advocate.

Justice Clarence Thomas requested on Tuesday that his former clerk argue in favor of the ruling below in Patel v. Garland next term, which starts in October.

In that case, the government agreed with immigrant Pankajkumar Patel that the justices should resolve a dispute over when federal courts can review decisions by immigration officials.

Such amicus “invitations” often are made by the “circuit justice,” the Supreme Court member assigned to handle emergency requests for the court where the case arises from. The justices typically appoint a former clerk who is a first-time Supreme Court advocate. Both are true for Meehan.

“It’s a tremendous honor, and I look forward to briefing and arguing the case for the Court later this year,” she said.

Meehan becomes just the eighth woman of at least 68 appointments the court has made since 1926, according to Bloomberg Law research and a 2016 essay on the court’s appointment process, Friends of the Court: Evaluating the Supreme Court’s Amicus Invitations.

The appointment process isn’t public. But since 2016, three of the eight female advocates have presumably been appointed by Thomas.

Former Thomas clerk and now-Gibson Dunn partner Helgi Walker was appointed to argue her first case in, Welch v. United States. Amy Weil, one of the few non-clerks to be invited, argued her first case in, Culbertson v. Berryhill. That case, like Walker’s and Meehan’s, comes out of the Eleventh Circuit, where Thomas is the circuit justice.

Meehan, who has tried cases, written briefs, and done appellate advocacy, is “like a basketball player who can play every position,” said University of Chicago law professor Adam Mortara, who is the only advocate to be invited to argue more than once by the justices.

Mortara was Meehan’s law professor and now works with her on high court amicus briefs.

Meehan’s upcoming argument will make her the seventh of `` 15 lawyers at Consovoy McCarthy to have argued at the Supreme Court. When asked if Meehan was likely to appear again in the future at the Supreme Court lectern, firm partner Patrick Strawbridge said, “I would bet on it.”

Male advocates vastly outpace females at the Supreme Court, with women arguing between 12% and 22% since 2011.

To contact the reporter on this story: Kimberly Strawbridge Robinson in Washington at krobinson@bloomberglaw.com

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Seth Stern at sstern@bloomberglaw.com; John Crawley at jcrawley@bloomberglaw.com

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