Federal Courts, The Nine Supremes and LGBT Equality: An LGBT Bar Event Presented by Celesq® AttorneysEd Center

Program Number: 1992LGBT

Program Date: 09/12/2009


Federal court judges with their lifetime appointments, can be a president’s more enduring legacy. Some experts are predicting that within one term, President Obama could get Democratic majorities on nine of the 13 appeals courts. While one can expect new judges to side with workers, consumers, women and people of color, can one expect them to understand – and come down on the side of -- LGBT equality? On the Supreme Court, four justices are older than 70, and more retirements are expected, and seven justices were appointed by Republicans; how will Sonia Sotomayor balance out the power where justices often divide 5-4 on ideologically charged issues?

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Available in states

Arizona, California, Colorado Eligible, Florida, Georgia, Missouri, New Jersey Eligible, New York, Texas Self Study

Credit Information

50 minute credit hour - 1.5 General CLE credit
60 minute credit hour - 1.5 General CLE credit

State Program Numbers


David Lat, Esq.

Above the Law

David Lat is the founding editor of Above the Law, an award-winning blog about law firms and the legal profession that receives 10 million pageviews per month. He founded Underneath Their Robes, a blog about federal judges, and served as editor of Wonkette, the widely read politics blog. His writing has also appeared in the New York Times, the New York Observer, Portfolio, New York magazine, and Washingtonian magazine. Before entering the media world, David worked as a federal prosecutor in Newark, New Jersey; a litigation associate at Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz, in New York; and a law clerk to the Honorable Diarmuid F. O'Scannlain, of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. David graduated from Harvard College and Yale Law School.


Arthur S. Leonard, Esq.

New York Law School

Professor Arthur S. Leonard of New York Law School graduated from Cornell University (1974) and Harvard Law School (1977). He started New York’s gay lawyers association in 1978 and served as its first formally elected president from 1984 to 1988. He edits and largely writes the association’s monthly substantive newsletter, Lesbian/Gay Law Notes, which circulates directly to members of half a dozen lesbian and gay lawyer associations in the U.S. and has an international readership by subscription and online. He writes for Gay City News, a NYC community newspaper, and is co-editor of the first law school casebook on AIDS (now in its third edition) and a casebook on Sexuality Law (publication of second edition scheduled for 2009). He provides timely commentary on LGBT and HIV-related legal issues on his blog. Professor Leonard has been a director or trustee of Lambda Legal Defense & Education Fund, The Center for Lesbian and Gay Studies at City University of NY, The Society of American Law Teachers, Congregation Beth Simchat Torah (the world’s largest LGBT synagogue), The Jewish Board of Family and Children’s Services, and Howard House Owners Corporation (a New York City co-operative apartment building). At the New York City Bar Association, he is past chair of the Committee on Sex and Law and founding co-chair of the Committee on Lesbians and Gay Men in the Legal Profession (predecessor to the present-day LGBT Committee), and served for many years on the Association’s Special Committee on AIDS. He is a member of the Task Force on Children, Youth and Families at UJA-Federation of New York. His courses at New York Law School have included Contracts, Torts, Labor Relations Law, Employment Law, Employment Discrimination Law, Professional Responsibility, and Sexuality & the Law, and he has published widely in law journals and other media on lesbian and gay law, AIDS law, and labor and employment law. In March 2009 he married his partner of 30 years, Tim Nenno, with whom he resides on the Upper West Side of Manhattan.


Matt Nosanchuk, Esq.

United States Department of Justice

Matt Nosanchuk joined the Civil Rights Division in July as a Senior Counselor to the Assistant Attorney General. He brings extensive experience as a civil rights attorney from his time in Congress, as well as work in the non-profit and private sectors. Among his primary duties, Matt helps to oversee the Division's Criminal Section and the Division’s pursuit of key policy priorities. He represents the Division in many capacities, including working with LGBT community and with Congress. He returns to the Justice Department after serving in the Office of Policy Development under Attorney General Janet Reno during the Clinton Administration. Matt also has worked on the House Judiciary Committee’s Democratic Staff under then Ranking Member John Conyers; at Third Way, where he established and directed the organization’s Gay Equality Initiative; and, most recently, in the Senate as Counsel to Senator Bill Nelson of Florida, where he covered judiciary and civil rights matters. During the 2008 presidential election campaign, Matt was a leader of the LGBT policy committee on the Obama campaign and worked on the Obama for America campaign staff as State Research Director in Florida and Regional LGBT Outreach Director in South Florida. Matt received his undergraduate and law degrees from Stanford, where he was a Truman Scholar and Senior Note Editor of the Stanford Law Review. He clerked on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit in Chicago for Judge Walter J. Cummings and was a Skadden Fellow at the ACLU of Illinois, where Matt served as staff attorney on the organization’s AIDS and Civil Liberties Project.


Robert Raben, Esq.

The Raben Group, LLC

Robert Raben is the founder and President of The Raben Group, LLC a public affairs firm providing clients with a range of services including policy development, direct lobbying, coalition building, grasstops campaigns, political counsel and strategic communications. Mr. Raben began his legislative career as Counsel to Congressman Barney Frank, where his responsibilities included all matters relating to the judiciary committee and civil rights. Soon Mr. Raben was asked to join the staff of the judiciary committee itself, initially as Democratic Counsel for the Subcommittee on the Constitution and later the Subcommittee on Intellectual Property. In 1999, Mr. Raben was appointed Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General, and shortly thereafter was nominated to be Assistant Attorney General. After a unanimous confirmation hearing, Mr. Raben oversaw Attorney General Janet Reno’s legislative initiatives and handled congressional oversight of the department. Mr. Raben serves on the boards of the Hispanic Bar Foundation and The Victory Fund. He is a past adjunct faculty member of Georgetown Law School and a past President of the Hispanic Bar Association of DC. Mr. Raben is a graduate of both Wharton College and New York University Law School.