Argument      Case Name 
      1                  A.H. Phillips v. Walling (No. 608), 324 U.S. 490 (1945)

      2                  10 East 40th St. Bldg v. Callus (No. 820), 325 U.S. 578 (1945)*x

      3                  Borden v. Borella (No. 688), 325 U.S. 679 (1945)*

      4                  Roland Electrical Co. v. Walling (No. 45), 326 U.S. 657 (1946)

      5                  Boutell v. Walling (No. 73), 327 U.S. 463 (1946)

      6                  Rutherford Food v. McComb (No. 562), 331 U.S. 722 (1947)

      7                  McComb v. Jacksonville Paper (No.110), 336 U.S. 187 (1949)

      8                  Powell v. United States Cartridge Co. (No. 96); Aaron v. Ford, Bacon & Davis,                                  Inc. (No.79); Creel v. Lone Star Defense Corp. (No. 58), 339 U.S. 497 (1950)*

      9                  Alstate Construction Co. v. Durkin (No 296), 345 U.S. 13 (1953)

     10                 Mitchell v. Joyce Agency Inc. (No. 230), 348 U.S. 945 (1955)

     11                 Maneja v. Waialua Agricultural Co. (No. 357), and Waialua Agricultural Co. v.                                  Maneja (No. 358), 349 U.S. 254 (1955)*

     12                 Mitchell v. Myrtle Grove Packing Co. (No. 44), 350 U.S. 891 (1955)

     13                 Steiner v. Mitchell (No.22), 350 U.S. 247 (1956)

     14                 Mitchell v. King Packing (No. 39), 350 U.S. 260 (1956)

     15                 Mitchell v. Budd (No. 278), 350 U.S. 473 (1956)

     16                 Mitchell v. Bekins Van and Storage (No. 122), 352 U.S. 1027 (1957)

     17                 Mitchell v. Lublin, McGaughy & Associates (No. 37), 358 U.S. 207 (1959)

     18                 Mitchell v. Kentucky Finance (No. 161), 359 U.S. 290 (1959)

     19                 Mitchell v. Robert DeMario Jewelry (No. 39), 361 U.S. 288 (1960)

     20                 Mitchell v. Oregon Frozen Foods (No. 33), 361 U.S. 231 (1960), cert. dismissed                                after argument. x

     21                 Arnold v. Ben Kanowsky, Inc. (No. 60), 361 U.S. 388 (1960)

     22                Mitchell v. H.B. Zachry Co. (No. 83), 362 U.S. 310 (1960) x

     23                Goldberg v. Whitaker House Cooperative (No. 274), 366 U.S. 28 (1961)

     24                Wirtz v. Steepleton General Tire Co. (No. 31), 383 U.S. 190 (1966)


                        * = Argued as Amicus Curiae (Friend of the Court)            

                        x = Received unfavorable outcome


Sources: Marlene Trestman, "Fair Labor: The Remarkable Life and Legal Career of Bessie Margolin (1909-1996)," 37 Journal of Supreme Court History 42-74 (2012); Marlene Trestman, "Addenda to 'Fair Labor': A Discussion of Methodology in Tallying the Supreme Court Argument Record of Bessie Margolin and Other Pioneer Female Advocates Mabel Willebrandt, Helen Carloss and Bea Rosenberg," 38 Journal of Supreme Court History 252-260 (2013). See also Marlene Trestman, "First 101 Women to Argue at the United States Supreme Court," (July 2014) available at www.supremecourthistory.org.

​​Bessie Margolin's Supreme Court Arguments

As the Labor Department's principal Supreme Court advocate, Bessie Margolin presented 24 arguments at the Supreme Court - one of only three women to achieve this distinction in the 20th Century - and prevailed in 21 of them. These 24 arguments, set forth below, comprised 27 separately docketed cases. Margolin also principally briefed and argued approximately 150 circuit court appeals, some in every federal circuit. 


Margolin, mid-1950s

Labor Dep't photo.

  • Steiner v. Mitchell1:10

Marlene Trestman

Justice Frankfurter reveals his cordial relationship with Margolin -- outside the courtroom -- by the way he inscribed her copy of his 1956 book, Of Law and Men:

"For Bessie Margolin, who pleases me more often than I -- through no fault of mine -- please her." Malcolm Trifon photo.

Justice Felix Frankfurter

Library of Congress photo

Listen to Margolin at the Supreme Court: 

In this scratchy audio clip of her 1955 oral argument in Steiner v. Mitchell, Margolin displays grace under pressure, making use of cool logic and even humor. Although you won't be able to make out what Justice Felix Frankfurter is saying, you'll have no problem hearing his annoyance with Congress's failure to define certain terms in the Fair Labor Standards Act -- an annoyance he often redirected at Margolin during oral argument.