Support the Confirmation of Julie Rikelman to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit

Courts Resources 09.19.22

View PDF of Letter Here


Dear Senator:

On behalf of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, a coalition of more than 230 national organizations committed to promoting and protecting the civil and human rights of all persons in the United States, we write to express our strong support for the confirmation of Julie Rikelman to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit. 

Ms. Rikelman’s distinguished career and demonstrated commitment to equal justice will make her an excellent addition to the federal bench. She is currently the litigation director at the Center for Reproductive Rights, and she previously served as a Blackmun fellow and senior staff attorney. Additionally, Ms. Rikelman spent numerous years in private practice, working in-house at NBCUniversal Inc., where her positions included vice president of litigation, senior litigation counsel, and litigation counsel. She also worked as a senior associate at Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP and as an associate with Feldman & Orlansky. A graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Law School, she clerked for Judge Morton Greenberg on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit and Justice Dana Fabe on the Alaska Supreme Court. Ms. Rikelman’s legal brilliance and her work to protect and advance the rights of all people will be an asset to the First Circuit.

Ms. Rikelman’s vast experience and record make her eminently qualified to serve as a federal judge. She has significant experience in the area of civil and human rights law, which is glaringly underrepresented in our federal courts. She has defended the right to bodily autonomy by protecting the rights of those seeking access to reproductive health care, including abortions, and she has defended access to the ballot box. She is well-respected for her legal acumen and she has significant appellate experience, including arguing two cases in front of the Supreme Court. Ms. Rikelman has worked tirelessly to safeguard the protections guaranteed in the Constitution, and her substantial civil rights experience would be a tremendous asset to the First Circuit and the entire federal judiciary. 

In addition to the important professional experience she would bring to the court, Ms. Rikelman would bring other vital representation to the federal bench. Born in Kiev, Ukraine, Ms. Rikelman’s family came to the United States as refugees when she was six years old to escape religious persecution. If confirmed, Ms. Rikelman would be the first immigrant woman and the first Jewish woman to ever sit on the First Circuit. Public trust in the judiciary is bolstered when our courts reflect the rich diversity of our country. Different lived experiences, especially from communities that have been excluded from serving on our courts, bring varied perspectives to our federal courts that are crucial to improving judicial decision-making. The confirmation of Ms. Rikelman would be an important step towards ensuring that our federal courts reflect and represent the diversity of our nation.

Ms. Rikelman is an excellent choice for this position, and we strongly urge the Senate to confirm her to the First Circuit. If you would like to discuss this matter further, please contact Lena Zwarensteyn, senior director of the fair courts program, at (202) 466-3311. Thank you for your consideration.


Maya Wiley
President & CEO

Jesselyn McCurdy
Executive Vice President of Government Affairs