Professor Cornelia "Nina" Pillard Confirmed to D.C. Circuit

December 12, 2013 —

Professor Cornelia Professor Cornelia "Nina" Pillard

Georgetown University Law Center Professor Cornelia "Nina" Pillard has been confirmed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, often referred to as the nation's second highest court behind the U.S. Supreme Court. 

"Nina's superb record as a leading Supreme Court advocate and legal scholar speaks for itself — she will make a remarkable appellate judge," said Georgetown Law Dean William M. Treanor. "I know I speak for all of Nina's colleagues and students when I say she has enriched this institution beyond measure with her charisma, intellect and thoughtfulness. Though we are sad to lose her, we are thrilled and proud to send her on to the D.C. Circuit, where the same traits that made her such a valuable asset on our campus will be put to use strengthening the pursuit of justice."   

President Barack Obama nominated Pillard to the 11-member court on June 4, 2013. In his remarks that day, Obama said Pillard's career "has been defined by an unshakeable commitment to the public good" and noted that once confirmed, she would "continue the D.C. Circuit's strong tradition of distinguished scholars going on to serve as judges — from Antonin Scalia to Ruth Bader Ginsburg."

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 has taught civil procedure, constitutional law and a variety of upper-level seminars and courses and has been 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. 


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