Underneath Their Robes isn't just fun and games, gossip blind items, and federal judicial celebrity sightings. Every now and then, Article III Groupie does something approaching real journalism.
Through her Questions Presented series, A3G has interviewed distinguished federal judges. Her recent ruminations about possible Supreme Court nominees are not unlike what one might find on the op-ed page of a major newspaper (but funnier and more creative, or so she likes to think). And, of course, UTR offers what journalists call "service pieces," or "news you can use" -- such as complete lists of past Supreme Court clerks for OT 2004, OT 2003 and OT 2002, and OT 2000. (When things calm down at work, A3G will post the 2001 list as well, to make a complete set for the past five years.)
Although the October Term 2005 clerks won't be reporting for duty for a few months, numerous readers have been emailing A3G and running Google searches in search of a list of the incoming crop of the Elect. A3G would like to help. In fact, she would love to scoop the mainstream legal news media, by publishing an informal list well before the Public Information Office of the Court certifies the official roster of the Anointed.
But she needs your help. Yep, you guessed it: time for a UTR Discovery Request! Do you know someone who will be clerking at the Court in OT 2005? Or perhaps you are one of the 35 young legal geniuses who will be gracing One First Street with your presence? If so, please email A3G with the following information for each OT 2005 law clerk that you know of:
2. Law school (with graduation year if available)
3. Prior clerkship(s) (with years if available)
4. An interesting tidbit
What qualifies as an interesting tidbit? By way of example, here's an interesting tidbit about Sasha Volokh, a current clerk to Judge Alex Kozinski and a future SOC clerk (a tidbit received from Sasha himself, which A3G shares with his permission):
It's probably too late to bring this up, but since you "do" celebrity weddings, I'll mention that Judge Kozinski married me to quare.blogspot.com, in a tasteful five-line, one-minute-long ceremony in his office on October 29, 2004.*
Delightful! This gives you a good idea of what A3G is looking for. But in case you need a few more examples... What's Meaghan McLaine's favorite breakfast cereal? Where does Scott Martin like to shop for his clothes? And does Michael Passaportis (pictured at left) wear boxers or briefs? A3G can't wait to find out! She thanks you in advance for your tips -- and apologizes in advance for not being able to publish all of them.
What will you get in exchange for your information (besides the undying gratitude of a stylish blogress)? Well, A3G realizes that in order to get information, you need to give some up. So, in the spirit of "I'll show you mine if you'll show me yours," here's what A3G already knows about next Term's class of Supreme Court clerks (corrections welcome):
Sarah McCallum (Oxford/Georgetown/Rakoff (S.D.N.Y.)/Walker)
Ben Horwich (Stanford '03/Becker/V. Walker (N.D. Cal.))
Sasha Volokh (Harvard/Kozinski)
John Demers (Harvard/O'Scannlain)
Scott Martin (Columbia/Kozinski)
Evan Young (Yale/Wilkinson)
Unidentified Quota-Filling Luttigator***
Randy Kozel (Harvard/Kozinski)
Jeffrey Pojanowski (Harvard/Roberts)
Unidentified Garland Clerk
Meaghan McLaine (Harvard '04/Garland)
Jon Michaels (Yale '03/Guido-maniac)
Allison Orr (Wilkinson/UVA) (see here, and picture at right -- meow, A3G's jealous!)
Unidentified Harvard Grad/Sack Clerk
James C. Ho (Chicago/J. Smith)
Larry D. Thompson, Jr. (NYU/Luttigator)
Joshua Civin (Yale/Bleeding Reinhardt)
Rebecca Deutsch (Yale '02/Rakoff (S.D.N.Y.)/Katzmann)
Jonathan Kravis (Yale/Garland)
Unidentified Garland Clerk
* If this discussion strikes you as a little cryptic, worry not. Additional information about Sasha's celebrity wedding, as well as some fun facts about the wedding of his boss, The Easy Rider, will appear in a forthcoming "Courthouse Forum" post.
** A reader advises A3G that "Passaportis is not the rugby player -- that's his cousin." Oops! A3G apologizes for the error. (Hence the classification of this post under "Amended Opinions: UTR Corrections.")
*** Could we be just a little more cliched in our hiring practices, Justice Scalia? Trivia question: Since Judge Luttig joined the bench, has Justice Scalia ever had a year without a Luttigator?
An addendum: In her new capacity as self-appointed clearinghouse of information about the Elect, A3G would like to share with you an excellent article from last November analyzing the OT 2004 clerk class (written by the Liz Smith of One First Street -- a UTR reader, by the way). A3G reprints this most interesting piece, normally accessible only to Legal Times subscribers, with Mr. Mauro's permission. (If you're wondering why it took A3G five months to post this article -- well, she's been busy.) Enjoy!
The Legal Times, November 15, 2004
"Clerk Tally" by Tony Mauro
After a couple of years of hiring record numbers of minority law clerks, the Court this term seems to have slipped backward. None of this term's 35 clerks is African-American, and the complement of clerks in the chambers of Chief Justice Rehnquist and Justices Antonin Scalia, Anthony Kennedy, David Souter, and Stephen Breyer are all white. Rehnquist also has no female clerks.
Since attention was drawn to the demographics of law clerks in 1998, the Court itself has offered no official assistance in tallying the racial or ethnic backgrounds of its clerks. But based on research and observation, it appears that 19 of the clerks are white males, 11 are white females, one is a Hispanic male, and four are Asian-American females. Adding together the Hispanic and Asian-Americans, that totals five minorities, down from eight last term and a record nine the term before that.
Those familiar with the crop of applicants chalk up the decrease to the vagaries of law school competition and other factors. Justice Clarence Thomas was scheduled to have an African-American law clerk working for him this term -- Larry Thompson Jr., the son of the former deputy attorney general, who is a longtime friend of Thomas -- but his start was put off until next term. The impact of the law clerk hiring plan that slowed down the competition among appeals court judges for top candidates last year won't be felt at the Supreme Court level until next term's class of clerks.
The African-Americans who are at the top of the classes of the law schools most clerks are drawn from -- Harvard and Yale, primarily -- are often in demand for more lucrative positions, say some observers. "The pool just isn't there yet, and those who are available are snapped up instantly," says one judge familiar with the law clerk landscape.
The lagging economy may also be a factor, says Debra Strauss, author of the leading book on judicial clerkships. Minority law students saddled with debt may be under more pressure than usual to seek scarce law firm jobs rather than take a lower-paying two-year law clerk detour -- clerking for an appeals court judge, then a justice.
"The economy can definitely have an effect," says Strauss, who offers advice and information on clerkships through her Web site: www.judicialclerkships.com. Strauss says the American Bar Association and other organizations have stepped up outreach efforts to attract minorities to clerkships, but help with loan payments is still a problem.
As usual, Harvard was the predominant source for high court law clerks [nine], with the University of Chicago, placing seven clerks, not far behind. Five clerks are Yale Law School alumni, and four went to Stanford. Another recently noted trend has continued this term.
Eleven of the law clerks came to the high court after doing something else since their appeals court clerkship. James Dowden, for example, worked at Ropes & Gray in Boston and taught at his alma mater, Boston College Law School, before beginning his clerkship with Justice Breyer.
The top feeder judge was Alex Kozinski of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit, who sent four of his clerks to the Supreme Court. Three of D.C. Circuit Judge David Tatel's clerks are at the Court this term.
Correction: In the Nov. 15 issue, the Courtside column's demographic tally of Supreme Court law clerks omitted a Hispanic female working in the chambers of Justice Stephen Breyer. The clerk, Christina Burnett, is of Puerto Rican descent. Her inclusion brings the total of minority clerks this term to six.