Professor Pillard's Nomination to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit Cleared for Full Senate Vote

September 19, 2013 —

Professor Nina Pillard Professor Nina Pillard

Georgetown University Law Professor Cornelia “Nina” Pillard cleared the latest hurdle toward filling one of three vacancies on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit when the Senate Judiciary Committee voted today to send her confirmation to the full Senate. 

President Barack Obama nominated her to the 11-member court on June 4, 2013. She now needs 60 senators to vote in favor of bringing her confirmation to a floor vote, then 51 of 100 Senate votes to be confirmed.

“As much as the faculty and students here will miss her, Nina is superbly suited to sitting on one of the nation’s highest courts. She will be an exceptional judge, committed fully to the pursuit of justice, as evidenced by her stellar record as an esteemed Supreme Court advocate and legal scholar,” said Georgetown Law Dean William M. Treanor. “Nina’s approach to the law is nothing short of meticulous. She brings clarity, thoughtfulness, and unparalleled judgment to every matter she takes on.” 

During her appearance before the Judiciary Committee in July, Pillard said: “The system of laws and courts in our country is a precious heritage, and I take my acceptance of this nomination as my pledge to safeguard our great legal traditions.” 

Pillard joined the Georgetown Law faculty in 1997, sharing with her students a decade of experience as an accomplished litigator. She has briefed more than 25 cases in the United States Supreme Court, and argued nine times before the justices. She has litigated cases in federal trial and appeals courts around the country. Her most notable wins include United States v. Virginia (1996), which opened the Virginia Military Institute to women, and Nevada Department of Social Services v. Hibbs (2003), which sustained Family and Medical Leave Act rights against a constitutional challenge. 

Pillard took a brief leave from Georgetown Law to serve as deputy assistant attorney general in the Office of Legal Counsel at the U.S. Department of Justice from 1998 to 2000. She earlier served as assistant to the Solicitor General from 1994 to 1997. She teaches civil procedure, constitutional law, and a variety of upper-level seminars and courses.  She is also the faculty co-director of the Georgetown Law Supreme Court Institute. 

A magna cum laude graduate of Yale College and Harvard Law School, she clerked for Judge Louis H. Pollak of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.