It looked like a fairly typical appeal to the Supreme Court. The brief said the state of Illinois and two antiabortion physicians wanted the justices to consider reinstating Illinois' restrictions on abortion, which had been overturned by a federal appeals court.

But it turned out that Illinois Attorney General Neil F. Hartigan was not appealing the case. In fact, top state officials didn't know about the appeal until they read about it in the newspapers late last month, according to a report by the National Law Journal.

It seems that a Chicago-based antiabortion group, Americans United for Life Legal Defense Fund, put the state's name on the appeal without permission, considerably boosting the likelihood that the high court would take the case. The justices agree to hear cases brought by states much more often than they agree to hear those brought by individuals.

Americans United told the National Law Journal that the misrepresentation was unintentional and that the organization took steps shortly afterward to alert the court that the state was not involved.

Part of the problem was that the state, joined by Americans United, had defended the law in the federal appeals court in Chicago, but declined to appeal to the Supreme Court because the law had been changed in the meantime.

The justices announced that they would hear the appeal in the fall. As usual, they gave no reason for their decision, so it is unclear whether they knew that the state was not involved.

MORE WOMEN, BLACKS . . . The Reagan administration, moving slowly to fill vacant federal judgeships, has increased the percentage of women and minorities it is putting on the federal bench.

President Reagan appointed 167 judges in his first term. He's appointed 24 this term, leaving 105 vacancies. Nine names are pending in the Senate, and 45 more have been informally picked, pending the completion of their background checks. About 30 more possible candidates are being considered, while 20 other seats are wide open.

During the first term, about 6 percent of Reagan's appointees were blacks and Hispanics. The percentage is up to 8.5 percent so far this term.

During that first term, fewer than 10 percent of the judgeships were filled by women. This term five women have been nominated to the federal bench -- three to district judgeships and two to appeals courts. That is more than double the first-term rate and comparable to President Jimmy Carter's rate for women appointees.

"We're especially looking for females and blacks," said Justice Department spokesman Terry H. Eastland. Some administration officials complain that it is not easy to find lawyers who are members of a minority group and who have the requisite conservative credentials, but Eastland said he thought there were "people out there with the qualifications for the jobs and we are finding them."

BEFORE THE BAR . . . It's springtime, and out-of-town lawyers have arrived to be sworn in as members of the Supreme Court bar. Last Monday 103 were admitted in a ceremony that requires each to stand as his name is called. Some were nominated by former justice Arthur J. Goldberg and a staggering 28, mostly from New Jersey, were nominated by William J. Brennan III, son of the Supreme Court justice and former president of the New Jersey bar.