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Stanford students Play Role In Historic Same-Sex Marriage Case

Publication Date: 
June 26, 2013
Stanford Report
Brooke Donald

Professors Pam Karlan and Jeff Fisher spoke with the Stanford Report's Brooke Donald about the work done by SLS Supreme Court Litigation Clinic students in United States v. Windsor, which the clinic served as co-counsel on. 

The Supreme Court decision on Wednesday that married same-sex couples are entitled to federal benefits came after justices examined hundreds of pages of arguments – many written by Stanford law students.

As part of the Supreme Court Litigation Clinic at Stanford Law School, students, under the supervision of Professor Pamela Karlan, worked round-the-clock last winter drafting documents to submit to the court. And in March, they flew to Washington to attend oral arguments.


"The clinic is thrilled with the court's decision today – both for our client and for having had the privilege to have played a part in this historic case," said Professor Jeffrey Fisher, who co-directs the clinic with Karlan.

Fisher called the four students who assisted in the research, briefing and oral argument preparation – Nico Martinez, Elizabeth Dooley, Bailey Heaps and Michael Baer – "instrumental in that effort."

Founded in 2004, the clinic gives students a unique opportunity to work in an area of the law that even many lawyers never see – the Supreme Court.

In a June 3 article from Stanford Lawyer magazine, Karlan describes the experience as "a unique opportunity for students to see this kind of case from the inside. It was a front-row seat on history."