Julie Rikelman was appointed the Center’s Litigation Director in 2012 after returning to the organization in 2011 as a Senior Staff Attorney. She first worked at the Center from 1999-2001 as a Blackmun Fellow.
In December 2021, Julie argued the most important abortion rights case in 30 years at the United States Supreme Court, Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization. The case challenges Mississippi’s pre-viability abortion ban on behalf of the last abortion clinic in the state, Jackson Women’s Health Organization. A decision is expected some time in 2022.
In March 2020, Julie successfully argued another abortion rights case at the U.S. Supreme Court, June Medical Services v. Russo. The Center’s victory in the case, brought in partnership with its long-standing client, Hope Medical Group, preserved critical access to abortion in Louisiana by permanently blocking a law designed to shut down most of the state’s clinics. Partly for her work on this case, Julie was named by Crain’s New York as one of its Notable Women in Law for 2021.
In addition to challenging bans and clinic closing laws around the country, Julie’s other litigation work at the Center has included leading the Center’s efforts against invasive ultrasound laws, fighting to preserve access to medication abortion, and defending the rights of young people in Florida and Alaska to make their own reproductive health decisions. Julie was also part of the Center’s team in a successful challenge at the United States Supreme Court (in Ferguson v. City of Charleston) to a local policy requiring a public hospital to report to the police confidential medical information of low-income pregnant people of color.
Prior to returning to the Center, Julie was Vice President, Litigation at NBC Universal. She clerked for the Hon. Morton I. Greenberg of the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit and the Hon. Dana A. Fabe of the Alaska Supreme Court. In 2004, she won the National Law Journal Pro Bono Award.
Julie graduated with honors from Harvard Law School and Harvard College.