And by “started,” I mean as recently as last term, when it was February before the justices heard oral arguments from a female attorney who was not a lawyer for either the federal government or a state government. As I reported last month, the October Term 2016 got off to a much better start, with eight women – three of whom are in private practice – appearing before the court in the October sitting. The November hearing list, released today, reveals that one of those three women, former Stanford Law School dean and current law firm name partner Kathleen Sullivan, will be back again this month, arguing on behalf of State Farm in a False Claims Act case.
Sullivan will be joined in the November sitting by four other women, two of whom are from private practice: Catherine Stetson and Catherine M.A. Carroll will face off in a dispute between Venezuela and an oil-drilling company over the pleading standard for cases brought under the “expropriation exception” to the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act’s general bar on lawsuits against foreign nations in U.S. courts. Stetson and Carroll will be joined at the lectern by Elaine Goldenberg, an assistant to the U.S. solicitor general. And another assistant, Ann O’Connell, will argue on behalf of the federal government in a case involving jurisdiction and the Federal National Mortgage Association, popularly known as “Fannie Mae.”
Former acting solicitor general Neal Katyal wins the “Ironman” award for the sitting with two arguments over an eight-day span. In the first of those arguments, on October 31, Katyal also finds himself in perhaps the most unenviable position of the sitting: opposing Wonder the goldendoodle service dog.