Greetings, dear readers. Article III Groupie must begin, as always, with the de rigeueur apology for her unexcused absence from these pages. Despite her election-year promises of shorter and more frequent posts--as well as "no new taxes" and "a chicken in every pot"--A3G hasn't been able to deliver the goods. Unfortunately, she has been suffering from a peculiar strain of writer's block.
Article III Groupie's writer's block does not stem from a lack of topics about which she'd like to write. If anything, right now she has too many pots on the stove, a cornucopia of promising subjects. Rather, A3G's literary torpor can instead be traced to two sources: (1) her perfectionism, which causes her to set a very high standard for her UTR posts, and (2) her obsession with things that are big and long (including but not limited to blog posts).
Indeed, A3G has received good-natured ribbing from such eminent bloggers as Howard Bashman of How Appealing (click here and here) and Will Baude of Crescat Sententia (click here) concerning her predilection for extra-long posts. What can she say? To use the argot of those friends of A3G who are also friends of Dorothy, Article III Groupie is a "size queen." (Speaking of A3G's friends, as previously noted here, Article III Groupie is on Friendster, and she is always looking for more pals. So please invite her to be your friend! You can check out her recently revised profile here.)
Oops, sorry for that rather bawdy digression. Where were we? Oh yes, we were talking about Article III Groupie's writer's block. Because Article III Groupie only allows herself to issue high-quality posts of impressive length, she needs a significant amount of free time for her blogging. Researching, writing, and editing such posts consumes many a billable hour! Thus, when A3G's life outside UTR heats up--which, truth be told, doesn't happen as often as it should--the pages of UTR cool down. And in the past two weeks, Article III Groupie has been surprisingly busy outside the blogosphere. Her time has been taken up with work, a new fitness regimen, and a charming lad that she has been seeing. As a result, she hasn't had the time to prepare the gargantuan, highly polished posts that she demands of herself--and which she likes to think her readers have come to expect of her. (In addition, A3G has been having some computer troubles, but she won't bore you with them.)
Okay, that's enough about Article III Groupie for now. She is not a federal judge, nor is she a member of the Elect, so why would anyone be interested in the petty details of her miserable existence? For present purposes, the most important thing about A3G is that the prodigal blogress has returned. (For the record, however, Article III Groupie is not without her admirers, including Rufus T. Firefly of Running With Lawyers (click here) and Dylan of The Slithery D (click here or here).)
Article III Groupie would like to kick off her renewed commitment to UTR with this follow-up to her recent post, Feed Me, Stephanie Seymour: Supreme Court Feeder Judge Rankings. She has some additional tidbits to pass along, as well as a request for information from her readers (i.e., a UTR Discovery Request).
1. Article III Groupie has been advised that the official list of Supreme Court clerks for October Term 2004 has been released. Hence the latest UTR Discovery Request: Would someone please send the list to her? A PDF file would be delightful, but A3G would be grateful for the information in any form. She would like to revise her feeder judge rankings to reflect the most current information. Her readers deserve no less!
2. An article in the August 17th issue of the Daily Journal (subscription required) had some interesting tidbits to report concerning the latest crop of Supreme Court clerks (material in quotation marks taken directly from the article; bracketed material courtesy of yours truly):
--"The percentage of female clerks - 40 percent - is up slightly from last term and near the record 41 percent in the 2001-02 term. The female clerkships are slightly above the overall percentage of women in the legal profession but short of the recent percentage of women law graduates, which is about 50 percent."
--Chief Justice Rehnquist, who hires only three clerks (it makes for better doubles matches), has three male clerks this Term. Justice Scalia and Justice Kennedy, neither of whom had a female clerk during OT 2003, each hired one for OT 2004.
An aside: Justice Scalia isn't exactly a feminist--surely everyone remembers his rather spirited dissent in United States v. Virginia, in which the Court held that the Virginia Military Institute's exclusion of women was unconstitutional. But UTR sources say that Justice Scalia does have a preference for having at least one female clerk when possible.
--"The recent trend of the justices hiring clerks who have spent some time practicing law or teaching after their appellate court clerkship continued this year, but dropped below the 50 percent mark. This year, 11 of the clerks - 31 percent - took the nontraditional route to the high court."
A message to the justices from Article III Groupie: If any of you are interested in a law clerk who has had the valuable experience of toiling in discovery hell, er, working in "general commercial litigation" for several years--and who can offer you fashion advice as well as legal analysis--please e-mail A3G and offer her a job!
--"For the second year in a row, the Ivy League law schools - traditionally the top clerk producers - fell below the 50 percent mark. Still, those schools account for 15 of the clerks, with Harvard Law School providing nine, Yale Law School five and Columbia University School of Law one. The University of Chicago Law School was the top non-Ivy League school, with seven clerks. Among California schools, Stanford Law School sent four clerks and the UCLA School of Law one."
--"The [fearsome and omnipotent] D.C. Circuit, which regularly is the leading feeder court, [smashing down doors and knocking other circuits upside the head as it firmly plants its children in coveted spots as clerks to the High Court], again was on top, with 10 clerks. But the 9th Circuit was a close second, with nine, followed by the New York-based 2nd Circuit with five."
Judge Bybee is a very recent addition to the Ninth Circuit bench, so his sending a clerk to the Supreme Court so quickly is quite impressive. Of course, UTR has every confidence that Judge Bybee's clerk did a great job clerking at the Ninth Circuit. As head of the DOJ's elite Office of Legal Counsel, Judge Bybee signed a controversial memo on torture that was widely decried in liberal circles--see, e.g., here or here, and here for Professor Froomkin's detailed exegesis. Surely Judge Bybee has his ways for squeezing superior work product out of his law clerks...
(Kidding aside, Judge Bybee is actually "a serious, soft-spoken, reflective man," as reported in this piece in the New York Times. One of A3G's favorite legal academics and commentators, Professor Doug Kmiec, describes Judge Bybee in the Times article as "a pretty gentle soul." So lest any law student readers be deterred from applying for a clerkship with Judge Bybee, please rest assured: he doesn't get Abu Ghraib on law clerk ass, at least not as far as A3G knows.)
--"Kozinski, who regularly sends two clerks a year to the high court, this year managed to beat out the regular top feeder judges, including 4th Circuit Judge J. Michael Luttig and 2nd Circuit Judge Guido Calabresi. His nearest rival was D.C. Circuit Judge David S. Tatel, who sent three clerks to the high court."
Article III Groupie is working on nicknames for former clerks to the top feeder judges, and she welcomes your input. Reader correspondence has yielded up two so far: "Luttigators" for Judge Luttig's former clerks, and "Tatel Tots" for Judge Tatel's. Please help A3G in the noble mission of getting these nicknames to stick by using them at every possible opportunity!
--"Kozinski sent all three of his clerks from last year, plus [UTR mystery hottie] Kathryn R. Haun, a Stanford graduate who clerked for him in 2000-01 and has been practicing with Sidley Austin Brown & Wood in Washington, D.C. 'I'm particularly glad for Katy, because she was left out the first time around,' Kozinski said."
--"This has been a good year for Kozinski. He recently was voted the 'Male Superhottie of the Federal Judiciary' by the readers of the blog underneaththeirrobes.blogs.com, beating out, among others, Justice David H. Souter. Asked about the double honors, Kozinski said with a laugh, "'Maybe there's a connection there.'"
(A3G suspects the answer is yes. Rumor has it that each justice who hired a Kozinski clerk for OT 2004 received an autographed picture of the #1 Male Superhottie wearing nothing but form-fitting Speedo trunks...)
I wonder if the rankings change if you looked at the percentage of clerks sent. As I'm sure A3G knows, federal appellate judges have a budget to hire 5 staffers. As far as I know, they all use either the 3 clerk/2 secretary or 4 clerk/1 secretary model. Over a ten year period, a judge using the 4/1 model has 10 more clerks who potentially can be sent to the Court over one using the 3/2 model. So if a 3/2 judge has sent 15 clerks to the Court during the 10 year period, and a 4/1 judge has sent 18 clerks, the 3/2 judge is actually doing "better." (For the math-impaired, that's a success rate of 50% vs. 45%.)
Article III Groupie is aware of the discretion of circuit judges to choose their staffing configuration, and she believes Professor Yin's observation to be an important one, which is why she highlights it here for the benefit of her readers. She actually contemplated trying to come up with rankings based on the percentage of clerks sent, but ultimately decided against it, basically due to (1) her own laziness and (2) the potential complications of such a project. (Of course, if anyone would like to undertake such a project and share the results with A3G, she would be delighted to publish them.)
Here are some examples of headaches that A3G didn't feel like dealing with (and if you only knew how much time she already spends on her blog, you would understand her desire to keep things simple): What about judges who changed the number of clerks they hire at some point in the past ten years (e.g., by moving from three to four)? What about senior judges who have decreased their hiring (e.g., by moving from three to two)? What about new judges, such as Judge W. Fletcher and Judge Garland, whose total number of clerks is hard to calculate? For new judges who started in the "middle" of a clerkship year, did they have their first clerks for just half a year, or did their first clerks stay for a year and a half?
Okay, must run. A3G hopes to get out another post or two before she disappears for the Labor Day weekend--but she knows better than to make any promises she can't keep, so don't hold your breath. Ciao!