Maureen Mahoney

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Maureen E. Mahoney
Born (1954-08-28) August 28, 1954 (age 62)
South Bend, Indiana
Nationality American
Alma mater University of Chicago Law School
Indiana University
Occupation Lawyer
Spouse(s) William H. Crispin

Maureen E. Mahoney (born August 28, 1954) is a former deputy solicitor general and "top appellate lawyer" at the law firm of Latham & Watkins in Washington, D.C.,[1] who has argued cases before the Supreme Court of the United States. Notably, she argued on behalf of the University of Michigan and its affirmative action program in Grutter v. Bollinger (2003), in which the Court decided in favor of Michigan by a 5–4 vote.

Early life and education[edit]

Mahoney was born in South Bend, while her father was attending the University of Notre Dame Law School.[2] The family moved to Merrillville, Indiana in 1961, when she was in first grade.[2] Mahoney announced at age eight that she wanted to be a lawyer just like her father, who was a personal injury attorney.[3]

Mahoney graduated from Merrillville High School in 1972, where she was on the school's swim team.[2][4] Mahoney earned her undergraduate degree in Political Science from Indiana University and her J.D. from the University of Chicago Law School, where she served on the school's law review.[5]

Mahoney was a clerk for Judge Robert Sprecher of the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit before clerking for then-Associate Justice William Rehnquist.

Professional career[edit]

Mahoney joined Latham & Watkins in 1980 and remained at the firm for the next 11 years.[3] She then served as Deputy Solicitor General in the George H. W. Bush administration, where she was a colleague of future Chief Justice of the United States John G. Roberts. In April 1992, President George H. W. Bush nominated her to serve as a judge of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, but her nomination was not acted upon by the Senate before Bush's presidency ended. "It was definitely the low point of my career," she has said. "I never had a hearing, and there was never any opposition that I knew of, so it wasn't ugly. It was just disappointing."[6]

In 1993, Mahoney rejoined Latham & Watkins.[3]

Mahoney is Joseph Nacchio's lead defense attorney in the proceedings surrounding his alleged insider trading.[7]

Supreme Court speculation[edit]

Harriet Miers' withdrawal of her Supreme Court nomination made Mahoney a possible candidate for the Supreme Court in 2005. However, her position in the University of Michigan affirmative action cases raised concerns among conservatives, and she ultimately was passed over in favor of Samuel Alito. "I already have a dream job, but it's extremely flattering to be considered," she told the Times of Northwest Indiana.[2]

Mahoney was also mentioned as a possible Supreme Court nominee in a John McCain presidency.[8]


Mahoney supported former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani in the 2008 presidential election.[1] In the 2012 presidential election, Mahoney supported Mitt Romney.


Mahoney is married to Washington, D.C. lawyer William H. Crispin.[3] They live in Alexandria, Virginia and also have a vacation home on Nantucket, Massachusetts. They have two children.[2]

Mahoney also is known for her ritual of eating a donut before each oral argument.[4] "When I swam as a kid, my coach told me I needed sugar in me if I wanted to compete," Mahoney has explained.[6]

See also[edit]


External links[edit]