Sarah Herring Sorin - U.S. Supreme Court Cases

U.S. Supreme Court Cases

On April 16, 1906 Colonel Herring applied for his daughter's admission to the United States Supreme Court. Sarah became the 24th woman ever to be admitted. Belva Lockwood, the first woman ever admitted to the U.S. Supreme Court, attended Sarah's ceremony in Washington, D.C.

Sarah first appeared before the U.S. Supreme Court in October 1906 in the case of Taylor vs. Burns. Herring made the final arguments. Herring & Sorin won the case for their client, Thomas Burns. The opinion was delivered by Justice Brewer.

Her next appearance involved mining tax issues. In an opinion delivered by Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, they lost their argument. The case did lead to mining companies pushing for statutory revisions to tax laws, which led to the enactment of the Bullion Law, which Herring & Sorin drafted.

Sarah's third appearance before the nation's highest court occurred after her father's death. Sorin was helping her attorney brother-in-law Selim M. Franklin on a title case that was argued before the court.

Her fourth case was her landmark case, Work v. United Globe Mines, where she became the first woman to argue a case, unassisted and unaccompanied by a male attorney, on November 6, 1913. This event secured Sarah's place in national legal history. The written brief presented to the court was solely in Sarah's name, and she gave the final arguments by herself. Her accomplishment was note in many newspapers, including the New York Times. The Women's Lawyers' Journal stated that Sarah's argument was "one of the most brilliant ever presented to that court by a woman".

On January 5, 1914, Chief Justice White rendered the Court's decision in favor of Sarah and her client, United Globe Mines.

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