Intern Spotlight: Madison Heuston

Growing up, I was always a bit of a Supreme Court nerd. I brought Jeffrey Toobin’s books on family vacations, regaled my very patient mother with tales from the life of Ruth Bader Ginsburg and took over the television when key decisions were expected to be announced. Until I came to SKDKnickerbocker, I wasn’t entirely sure what role a communications firm filled in relation to the highest court in the land. Because this term was full of cases involving some of the most hotly-contested contemporary issues and there is the ongoing fight over vacancy on the bench, this semester was the perfect time to learn more about the Supreme Court.

The case that I most enjoyed working on was Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt, a case involving a Texas law that severely regulates abortion clinics and closed more than half of the clinics in the state. I monitored the media for stories on the case, drafted memos and was even able to help organize the rally that took place outside the Court on the day of oral arguments. In this role at SKDK, I have been able to become a better communications professional while combining my hobby of Supreme Court-watching and my passion for protecting women’s access to safe and legal abortion.

Now, I have the opportunity to help with the campaign to fill the vacancy on the Court created by the death of Justice Antonin Scalia and President Obama’s nomination of Chief Judge Merrick Garland. I studied the contentious Senate confirmation hearings for Robert Bork and Justice Clarence Thomas in school, but I never thought we would see the Senate flat-out refuse to hear even consider a Supreme Court nominee. Being able to help spread and craft the media message around an essentially unprecedented event has been an exciting experience that I will never forget.

Although we have yet to see how the Court will rule in Whole Woman’s Health or if Chief Judge Garland will ever get confirmation hearings and an up-or-down vote in the Senate, I now know exactly what SKDK has to do with the Supreme Court.