Kathryn Kolbert

People for the American Way

Kathryn Kolbert is president of People for the American Way.  She has been recognized repeatedly by The National Law Journal as one of the "100 Most Influential Lawyers in America," named by The American Lawyer as one of 45 public interest lawyers "whose vision and commitment are changing lives," and by Philadelphia Magazine as one of its "76 Smartest Philadelphians."

Kolbert has been widely credited by commentators as having saved Roe v. Wade with her 1992 argument before the U.S. Supreme Court in Planned Parenthood v. Casey. Legal journalist Jeffrey Toobin writes in The Nine: Inside the Secret World of the Supreme Court that in Casey Kolbert "devised one of the most audacious litigation tactics in Supreme Court history."

Before being named President of People For the American Way and
People For the American Way Foundation, Kolbert was a Senior Research
Administrator with the Annenberg Public Policy Center at the University
of Pennsylvania and the Executive Producer of Justice Talking,
an award-winning weekly public radio show about law and American life.
Hosted by NPR’s Margot Adler, the program was distributed for nine
years by National Public Radio to 110 stations nationwide and to 140
countries around the world via NPR Worldwide and Armed Forces Radio
Network.

Kolbert also created Justice Learning,
an award-winning educational web-site produced by the Policy Center
with the New York Times Learning Network. Since 2000, Justice Talking
and Justice Learning have won 20 national journalism awards, including
the 2005 WEBBY in the law category. Kolbert also managed civics
education initiatives in high schools, libraries and jury rooms, a new
project to use simulation games to teach journalists about the First
Amendment and Justice Talking’s Constitution Day programming.

Kolbert is the co-author of four Justice Talking and Justice Learning books, including the new Hip Pocket Guide to the United States Constitution and Our Constitution,
(coauthored with Don Ritchie) published by Oxford University Press. In
2006-7, she headed the International Women Leaders Global Security
Initiative on behalf of the Annenberg Foundation Trust at Sunnylands in
partnership with the Council of Women World Leaders, The White House
Project and the Women Leaders Intercultural Forum.

Kolbert is one of the nation’s leading experts in legal, legislative
and policy issues concerning women’s reproductive health. Prior to
joining the Annenberg Public Policy Center, Kolbert had a long and
distinguished career as a public interest attorney specializing in
women’s reproductive rights. She has participated on the legal team of
nearly every abortion case in the Supreme Court from 1986-1997.

From 1992 until 1997, Kolbert served as Vice President and
co-founder of the Center for Reproductive Law and Policy in New York
where she directed its domestic litigation and public policy programs.
Kolbert has also served as the State Coordinating Counsel of the ACLU’s
Reproductive Freedom Project in New York and as a Staff Attorney with
the Women’s Law Project and Community Legal Services in Philadelphia.
In 2000, she completed a two-year Individual Project Fellowship with
the Open Society Institute.

A graduate of Temple University School of Law and Cornell University
School of Arts and Sciences, Kolbert has been an adjunct Professor at
the University of Pennsylvania for over 25 years and has lectured at
colleges and universities across the nation. She has also been a
frequent commentator on women’s rights and health in the national
media.


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