On May 25, 2022, President Joe Biden nominated Rachel S. Bloomekatz to the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit to the seat being vacated by Judge R. Guy Cole Jr., who is taking senior status.
Bloomekatz is the founder of Bloomekatz LLP, a public interest law firm in Ohio focused on Supreme Court, appellate, and complex litigation in state and federal court. She has briefed and argued cases on a broad range of issues, including voting rights, consumers’ and workers’ rights, and gun safety. Bloomekatz previously worked in some of the country’s top private sector appellate practices and served in government at multiple levels, including as a clerk to Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer. She was confirmed on July 18, 2023.
Early Life and Education
Rachel S. Bloomekatz was born in Southfield, Michigan in 1982. She graduated from Harvard College, magna cum laude, in 2004, and UCLA School of Law, Order of the Coif, in 2008. During law school, Bloomekatz was a Comments Editor on the UCLA Law Review and published a student comment titled, Rethinking Immigration Status Discrimination and Exploitation in the Low-Wage Workplace. She also interned at the Southern Poverty Law Center, helping to litigate class actions on behalf of immigrant workers conducting post-Hurricane Katrine cleanup operations in New Orleans, and at the civil rights firm Hadsell Stormer Rennick & Dai LLP, where she helped represent workers and whistleblowers.
Following law school, Bloomekatz clerked for Judge Guido Calabresi on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit from 2008 to 2009 and Chief Justice Margaret Marshall on the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court from 2009 to 2010. She then spent a year as an Assistant Attorney General in the Administrative Law Unit of the Government Bureau of the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office. In this role, Bloomekatz represented various state administrative agencies in challenges to administrative agency decisions, mainly in the Massachusetts trial courts. From 2011 to 2012, Bloomekatz clerked for Associate Justice Stephen Breyer on the U.S. Supreme Court.
Bloomekatz next joined Jones Day’s Columbus, Ohio office, serving as an associate in the firm’s Issues and Appeals Practice Group from 2013 to 2015. In this role, she worked on various appeals and complex legal issues in federal and state courts. For example, Bloomekatz briefed and argued a Third Circuit appeal in a complex contract law matter, U.S. Gypsum Co. v. G-I Holdings, obtaining decision reversals by the bankruptcy court and district court. While at Jones Day, she also maintained a robust pro bono practice, including representing indigent women and children seeking asylum in the United States. Additionally, she drafted an amicus brief for Senator Marco Rubio in support of victims of human trafficking in a Fourth Circuit case, Cruz v. Maypa.
From 2016 to 2019, Bloomekatz worked as a principal at Gupta Wessler PLLC, where she represented plaintiffs — including consumers, workers, voters, and personal injury victims — in appeals in state and federal court. For example, in Daugherty v. Ocwen Loan Servicing, LLC, she briefed and argued a successful appeal in the Fourth Circuit, which upheld a jury verdict and a substantial damages award under the Fair Credit Reporting Act against one of the largest mortgage servicers in the country.
Since 2019, Bloomekatz has been a solo practitioner based in Columbus, Ohio. Her firm, Bloomekatz Law LLC, focuses on appellate litigation to protect the constitutional and civil rights of vulnerable populations, including racial and ethnic minorities, immigrants, and criminal defendants. Additionally, Bloomekatz has represented several candidates for public office and most recently served as State Counsel for Ohio to the Biden-Harris Campaign.
Outside of the courtroom, Bloomekatz has served as an Adjunct Professor at the Ohio State University Moritz College of Law, teaching courses including “Federal Courts.” In 2019, she was a Visiting Professor at the Universidad Católica del Uruguay and taught “Major Topics in Modern Constitutional Law.”
Bloomekatz has extensive experience briefing and arguing high-profile appeals in the Supreme Court of Ohio, the Sixth Circuit, and other courts across the country. She has also appeared as counsel in 15 U.S. Supreme Court cases. The following cases, organized by issue area, demonstrate her commitment to equal justice for all.
Throughout her career, Bloomekatz has defended the constitutional and civil rights of all people. In State v. Moore, Bloomekatz pro bono represented Brandon Moore, who was sentenced when he was 15 years old to 112 years in prison. The Supreme Court of Ohio, adopting Bloomekatz’s arguments, ruled that Mr. Moore’s functional life sentence violated the Eighth Amendment because it did not afford him a “meaningful opportunity” for release, a requirement for juvenile offenders. Bloomekatz successfully opposed the state’s petition for certiorari in the U.S. Supreme Court, and Mr. Moore was subsequently re-sentenced.
In the U.S. Supreme Court case, Hernandez v. Mesa, which addressed liability for a cross-border shooting of an unarmed Mexican teenager by a Border Patrol agent standing on American soil, Bloomekatz co-authored a merits brief on behalf of the teenager’s family. The Supreme Court unanimously held that the agent was entitled to qualified immunity.
Consumers’ and Workers’ Rights
Bloomekatz has represented consumers and workers who have been harmed by powerful institutions. In In re Fifth Third Early Access Cash Advance Litigation, she represented low-income borrowers in a class action lawsuit against a large bank; the borrowers, who signed up for short-term payday loans, alleged the bank deceived them by breaking its contract to provide the loans at a certain annual percentage rate, resulting in millions of dollars of damages. The Sixth Circuit ultimately adopted Bloomekatz’s arguments, reversing the district court decision and remanding for further proceedings.
In Desai v. Charter Communications LLC, she represented a group of Kentucky call center workers in their defamation action against their former employer, Charter Communications. Bloomekatz was the primary drafter of the workers’ appellate briefs and presented oral argument before the Sixth Circuit. The court eventually certified the case to the Kentucky Supreme Court to resolve several state-law questions, and the parties settled.
Election Law and Voting Rights
Bloomekatz has litigated many important voting rights issues in Ohio. In Schwerdtfeger v. Husted, she served as lead counsel in a lawsuit against the Ohio Secretary of State, which led to a ruling recognizing the right of 17-year-olds to vote in Ohio primaries if they will be 18 years old by the general election. The Secretary did not appeal the decision.
In In re 2016 Primary Election, Bloomekatz was appointed by the Sixth Circuit to defend a district court’s emergency order keeping election polls open for an extra hour. She authored all of the appellate response briefing on a pro bono basis. The circuit court ultimately vacated the district court’s preliminary injunction, reasoning that because the matter arose out of an anonymous phone call, there was no plaintiff with standing to bring a lawsuit.
Bloomekatz has a long history of advocating for the environment. In In re Application of Ohio Edison Co., Bloomekatz represented a coalition of local and national environmental groups — including the Ohio Environmental Council, the Environmental Defense Fund, and the Environmental Law and Policy Center — and prevailed in the Supreme Court of Ohio in challenging the Public Utility Commission of Ohio’s decision to bail out a nuclear and coal power company. Bloomekatz demonstrated that the bailout, which did not include any guarantees to modernize the electric grid and would have cost customers nearly $600 million, violated Ohio ratemaking statutes.
In an ongoing case, In re E.I. DuPont de Nemours & Co. C-8 Personal Injury Litigation, Bloomekatz is representing Mr. Abbott, a resident of southeastern Ohio who is one of many victims of DuPont’s decades-long contamination of ground water in parts of Ohio and West Virginia. Due to consumption of the carcinogen “C8,” Mr. Abbott developed testicular cancer twice and lost reproductive function. A federal jury concluded DuPont caused his cancers and awarded Mr. Abbott compensatory damages. On appeal in the Sixth Circuit, the main issue is whether the district court properly applied principles of collateral estoppel. Bloomekatz presented oral argument on June 10, 2022, and the decision is currently pending.
Notably, in Gabbard v. Madison Local School District Board, Bloomekatz and co-counsel, Everytown Law, represented parents challenging a school district’s decision to arm teachers at school without the training required of law enforcement officials — 728 hours for law enforcement versus 26 hours for teachers. Bloomekatz prevailed in the Ohio Court of Appeals and Supreme Court of Ohio, which held that Ohio law requires comprehensive training for any school employee who carries a gun in school.
In Ohio State Conference of the NAACP v. State of Ohio, Bloomekatz is again working with Everytown Law in representing the Ohio State Conference of the NAACP, the Ohio Organizing Collaborative, and two Ohio state representatives in a challenge to an Ohio “stand your ground” law. The lawsuit alleges that the Ohio General Assembly violated the Ohio Constitution by adding a new “stand your ground” measure to an unrelated bill and passing it at the last-minute of a lame duck legislative session. The litigation is still ongoing.
Community Involvement and Accolades
Guided by her deep-rooted faith and commitment to the Jewish principle of tikkun olam (“repairing the world”), Bloomekatz is an involved member of the Columbus, Ohio community. Among other roles, she serves on the Executive Board of the Federal Bar Association’s Columbus Chapter and on the Rules Committee of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio. She also serves on the Board of Jewish Family Services of Central Ohio, which provides training and services for low-income individuals so they can achieve economic self-sufficiency and emotional stability. Bloomekatz has received many accolades for her public interest work, including the Children’s Champion Award from the Children’s Defense Fund and being recognized as an Ohio Super Lawyer Rising Star five times.