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Pamela S. Karlan, Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General
Staff Profile
Former Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General

Pamela S. Karlan

Pamela S. Karlan served as the Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General (PDAAG) for the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice. Ms. Karlan previously served as a Deputy Assistant Attorney General (DAAG) in CRT from January 2014 to September 2015. While at DOJ, she received the Attorney General’s Award for Exceptional Service as part of the team that implemented the Supreme Court’s decision in United States v. Windsor and the John Marshall Award for Providing Legal Advice as part of the team that worked to change the Department’s position on Title VII and gender identity. Her earlier public service included clerking for Judge Abraham D. Sofaer (S.D.N.Y.) and Justice Harry Blackmun and a term on California’s state Fair Political Practices Commission.

Ms. Karlan is the Kenneth and Harle Montgomery Professor of Public Interest Law and a founder and co-director of the Supreme Court Litigation Clinic at Stanford Law School. She has argued nine cases before the Court. Her first argument was in Chisom v. Roemer, 501 U.S. 380 (1991), which held that section 2 of the Voting Rights Act covers judicial elections; her most recent was in Bostock v. Clayton County, 140 S. Ct. 1731 (2020), which held that Title VII prohibits discriminating against a worker for being gay, lesbian, or transgender. Before joining the Stanford Law School faculty in 1998, she was a professor of law at the University of Virginia School of Law. Ms. Prior to beginning her teaching career, she also served as an assistant counsel at the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc.  Ms. Karlan has a J.D. from Yale Law School, a Master of Arts from Yale University, University Graduate School of Arts and Science, and a B.A. from Yale University.

Dates of Service
2021 - Present
Updated May 27, 2021