Meet Stephanie Toti: The Lawyer who may have just saved Choice for American women...

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This is from a Huffington Post profile back in February of this year:

Toti, who is now 37, has argued dozens of abortion cases in district and federal courts, and she briefly clerked for U.S. District Judge Nina Gershon in New York in 2005. But she has never argued before the Supreme Court. She lives in a modest walk-up apartment in Brooklyn with a roommate and occasionally attends Catholic mass with her sprawling Italian-American family on Long Island. 

She is humble and soft-spoken in our interview in her office in Manhattan, which is filled with cards bearing supportive messages from her co-workers: “Uteruses before duderuses” and “Ovaries before brovaries.” Her nails are painted bright purple — her favorite color, and also the color of the marketing materials for Whole Woman’s Health, the chain of Texas clinics she represents.

Toti’s opponent, Texas Solicitor General Scott Keller, argued two cases before the Supreme Court in 2015, and clerked for Justice Anthony Kennedy — the justice expected to be the swing vote in the case. 

Keller’s team doesn’t appear to be taking its less-experienced female opponent seriously. As the case wound its way through the lower courts, Toti repeatedly had to remind the Texas attorneys that she is the lead counsel on the case. But they consistently directed communications to her co-counsel — a taller, slightly older man from the international law firm Morrison & Foerster. “They would always reach out to him and not even ‘cc’ me,” she said. “I would get back to the lawyers and say, ‘Here is our position,’ and the next time they would go back to him anyway.” 

Toti’s co-counsel, Alex Lawrence, said the Texas attorneys are ignoring his colleague because she’s a woman. “I feel bad about it, but yes, it’s true,” he said in a phone interview. “They’re not comfortable with it completely. Maybe it’s a Texas thing, or maybe it’s just a man thing.”  

Being underestimated is “frustrating, but motivating,” Toti said. And she needs the boost — the outcome of her first Supreme Court case will determine whether millions of American women will still be able to access abortion in their states. 

“I definitely feel the pressure,” she said. “So much hangs in the balance.”

Needless to say, she won the case.  You can read the whole profile at the Huffington Post.

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