Judith Lichtman

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Judith Lichtman

Judith L. Lichtman has been a guiding and influential force in the women's movement for more than 30 years. She recently stepped down as President of the National Partnership for Women & Families and is presently Senior Advisor at the Partnership. Ms. Lichtman's vision and the National Partnership's strength and direct leadership have resulted in the passage of some of the most important legal protections for American women and families, including the Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978 and the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) of 1993. In 1996, the National Partnership helped shape key provisions of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) that make it easier for women and their families to get and keep health coverage. More recently, Ms. Lichtman has led efforts to promote patient protections and to bring paid family and medical leave to California. Before joining the National Partnership, Ms. Lichtman worked for the Department of Health, Education and Welfare, Jackson State College, the Urban Coalition, the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights and as legal advisor to the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico. In 1974, Lichtman became the Executive Director and first paid staff person for the Women s Legal Defense Fund (WLDF), which became the National Partnership for Women & Families in February 1998. [1]


Ms. Lichtman received her law degree from the University of Wisconsin.[2]


Judith Lichtman began her legal career as a civil rights attorney for the Office of the General Counsel of the U.S. Department of Health, Education and Welfare.


In 1971, a group of women lawyers from all fields of practice, interested in working on women's legal rights, with thousands of members formed the Women's Legal Defense Fund, now the National Partnership for Women and Families. In 1974 Lichtman became the first partnership staff member. Early work of the organization included the Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978, an amendment to Article VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

Throughout the years, access to health care and civil rights have been major issues under Lichtman's leadership. She paved the way within the DC lobbying community for women to be powerbrokers equal to men. For this she was recognized by Washingtonian and Ladies' Home Journal magazines.

She has also worked effectively to have women appointed to important positions and policymaking boards. A founder of Emily's List, founded in 1985 to support pro-choice candidates, Lichtman has served on boards and received awards and recognition concerning numerous human rights issues.

Barbara Boxer said of Emily's List "I would not be in the U.S.Senate today if it were not for Emily's List...and I would not have ten Democratic women colleagues, either."[3]

Supreme Court case

ROSTKER v. GOLDBERG, 453 U.S. 57 (1981) 453 U.S. 57


Argued March 24, 1981.

Briefs of amici curiae urging affirmance were filed by Daniel Marcus for Congressman Robert Kastenmeier et al.; by Paul Kenney for Men's Rights, Inc.; by Barbara A. Brown, Thomas J. Hart, Phyllis N. Segal, and Judith I. Avner for the National Organization for Women; and by Judith L. Lichtman for the Women's Equity Action League Educational and Legal Defense Fund et al.[4]

Campaign for America's Future

In 1996 Judith Lichtman, National Partnership for Women and Families was one of the original 130 founders of Campaign for America's Future.[5]

Center for American Progress

In 2005 Judith Lichtman served as a trustee[6] of Center for American Progress. Former President, National Partnership for Women and Families

Relationship to Elena Kagan

In 2009, Judith Lichtman wrote a letter "wholeheartedly" supporting Elena Kagan's solicitor general nomination, describing Ms. Kagan as a "friend and colleague." [7]

In June 2010, Lichtman was invited to the Whit House to see her friend Elena Kagan nominated to the Supreme Court.[8]

Earlier this month I was invited by the White House to watch President Obama nominate Solicitor General Elena Kagan to serve on the Supreme Court.

The ceremony was even more moving than I expected, and that took me a little by surprise.
I had tears in my eyes for much of that morning ceremony in the East Room. If Kagan is confirmed, women will comprise one-third of the Supreme Court. That's a fraction that does not yet represent our proportion of the population--but it's a stake that was once unimaginable for me and most of my peers.

Lichtman also wrote of Kagan;[9]

I had the honor and privilege of attending a special announcement ceremony at the White House on Monday, and I couldn’t be more pleased with President Obama’s decision to nominate Solicitor General Elena Kagan as the next United States Supreme Court justice.

I have known her for many decades and have deep respect for her commitment to equal justice.
Judges are the gatekeepers of our fundamental rights, and Elena Kagan gets it. She knows that the Supreme Court decides cases every year that touch women’s lives. And she has a proud history of public service, a fair and thoughtful approach to legal issues, a record of extraordinary accomplishment, and a history of working effectively with people who hold diverse political and legal views.


  1. EJW bio, accessed September 2011
  2. EJW bio, accessed September 2011
  3. [1] Veteran Feminists of America, honoree profile, accessed June 26, 2010
  4. [2] Findlaw website, accessed June 26, 2010
  5. CAF Co-Founders
  6. http://www.americanprogress.org/aboutus/files/annual_report_2004-2005.pdf
  7. [3] Elena Kagan's Pro-Abortion Position is Clear, Just as Obama Promised, Life News.com William Saunders May 25, 2010, accessed June 26, 2010
  8. [4] womens enews.org, June 4, 2010, accessed June 26, 2010
  9. [5] Kagan: Supremely Intelligent, Eminently Qualified, judith lichtman, natioanal partnership for Women and Families website, May 13, 2010