The Fifteen Known Latina Advocates Before the Supreme Court of the United States
Posted: 5 Apr 2011 Last revised: 10 Feb 2012
Date Written: April 3, 2011
Very few Latinas have argued before the United States Supreme Court, and unfortunately, Supreme Court litigation opportunities for Latinas are not improving. From 1900 to 2011, only fifteen known Latinas have argued before the Supreme Court of the United States, chiefly as government and public interest attorneys. The first known Latina to argue before the Supreme Court, Miriam Naveira Merly, then serving as the Solicitor General to Puerto Rico, argued before the High Court in 1975. Two years later, Vilma Martinez, the first known Mexican American woman to appear before the Supreme Court, argued before the High Court in 1977. Over the course of the 1980s, seven Latinas are known to have litigated before the Court, in the 1990s, only one known Latina argued before the High Court, and from 2000 to 2010, four known Latinas have argued before the Court. Finally, in 2011, Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez argued Williams v. Illinois, before the Court after the Supreme Court hadn’t heard from a Latina since March of 2006, when Nina Perales, of the Mexican American Legal Defense Educational Fund (“MALDEF”), argued LULAC v. Perry.
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