Since its debut roughly one year ago, Underneath Their Robes has not been particularly kind to Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Article III Groupie has recommended that Justice Ginsburg get a makeover, and when A3G compared various federal judges to stereotypical high schoolers, RBG was dubbed "queen of the nerds." UTR has printed reader commentary citing Justice Ginsburg as the paradigmatic judicial style disaster ("Worse than Ruthie!"), and A3G has even jokingly suggested that RBG makes her clerks play Magic: The Gathering with her.
Today's post, however, will take a different approach. Article Three Groupie will not discuss how Justice Ginsburg allegedly works her clerks to death. Nor will A3G mention RBG's reportedly cool demeanor, or her rumored, uncanny ability to kill off conversation topics seriatim when law clerks to other justices have their mandatory lunch with her.
Today we are here to celebrate Ruth Bader Ginsburg. A3G may disagree with RBG's jurisprudence, but she cannot deny that Justice Ginsburg is breathakingly brilliant. Justice Ginsburg demonstrated this at the very start of her legal career, when she graduated first in her class from Columbia Law School. In the years between her law school graduation and her apotheosis to the D.- Circuit, she had a monumentally successful career as a legal scholar and advocate in the area of sex discrimination law. As noted in her bio by the Supreme Court Historical Society, "[b]etween 1972 and 1978, Ginsburg argued six cases before the Court involving sex-role stereotyping and won five." Wow! As that bio goes on to note, once RBG was a judge on the D.- Circuit, she "garnered respect with her clear thinking, careful reasoning, and assiduous preparation for every case." (To learn more about Justice Ginsburg's remarkable achievements, click here, to read about former Solicitor General Walter Dellinger's interesting interview with her.)
In light of Justice Ginsburg's mind-blowing accomplishments, who cares if her taste in eyewear leaves something to be desired? And let's not forget: she sure has great taste in law clerks! The long wait is over. Here they are: RBG's clerks for the October Term 2005!
(a) Lori Alvino is currently a Bristow Fellow, and before that she clerked for Chief Judge Douglas Ginsburg of the D.- Circuit (so yes, she is a "double Ginsburg");
(b) she is a talented a cappella singer, with a mezzo soprano voice (but best lay off the ciggies, Lori!);
(c) she served as the "Minister of Conservative Dress and Dignified Bearing" for Uptown Vocal, a jazz/pop co-ed a cappella group "made up of unusually attractive members of the Columbia community with love for the a cappella spirit";
(d) Ms. Alvino certainly qualifies as "unusually attractive," with one UTR reader describing her as "absolutely gorgeous";* and
(e) her favorite crayon color is "orchid."
2. Joshua Ian Civin (Yale '03/Bleeding Reinhardt)
(a) Joshua I. Civin is currently an Arthur Liman fellow in the Washington office of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund (an office he interned in as a law student);
(b) from 1994 to 1997, while still an undergraduate at Yale, he served as an alderman for the city of New Haven (wow);
(c) before returning to Yale for law school, he studied British and American urban history at Oxford, as a Rhodes Scholar (yawn; this is all so predictable!);
(d) as recounted in the painfully inevitable New York Times wedding announcement, earlier this year Josh married Katherine Tang Newberger, an assuredly attractive law clerk to an assuredly attractive judge (see their pic at left, which captures the lovely Katherine's resemblance to a certain other Catherine);**
(e) Josh's hobbies and interests include "social justice, comparative social history, city politics, and workers rights";
(f) as you could probably have guessed from the above information, he is a "liberal do-gooder" who is "very intense"; but
(g) even though "some might call him humorless" -- a charge that has been leveled against his former boss, the Emperor Palpatine -- Josh Civin has been "known to chuckle on occasion."
(By the way, if you're bored and have ten seconds to kill, go to Google and run this search (or just click on the link): judge emperor palpatine. Check out that #1 result...)
3. Rebecca Deutsch (Yale '02/Rakoff '02-'03/Katzmann '03-'04)
(a) Rebecca Deutsch, who clerked together for Judge Rakoff with incoming JPS clerk Sarah E. McCallum, currently works at Debevoise & Plimpton in New York;
(b) like her RBG co-clerk Josh Civin, she graduated summa cum laude from Yale College and also went to Yale Law School (where she served on the Law Journal and was a teaching assistant for Professor Jed Rubenfeld (who looks pretty hunky, by the way!));
(c) Rebecca "was totally stealth in law school -- said very little, but when she did, she would drop mad knowledge";
(d) she has "a ridiculously developed work ethic, as proved by her rigorous clerkships";
(e) she is married to Benjamin Soskis, "an accomplished journalist and up-and-coming historian," who used to write for The New Republic and who is now a graduate student in American religious history at Columbia; and
(f) she is "a doll," "just about the most unassuming person in the world," and "a truly brilliant lawyer."
(a) after clerking for Chief Judge Boudin and spending time in London as a Temple Bar Scholar,*** Anna-Rose headed off to the legendary litigation shop of Williams & Connolly, where she currently works;
(b) she graduated first in her class from the University of Michigan Law School, where she served as both an Article Editor and a Symposium Editor for the Michigan Law Review;
(c) during her undergraduate years as a philosophy major at Bard College, Anna-Rose organized casino parties that were extremely well-attended (over 500 people), to raise funds for the Model U.N. club;
(d) she is originally from Oregon; and
(e) she's extremely well-traveled, having spent time in places like Cambodia, where she did an internship analyzing trial procedures for a possible Khmer Rouge genocide tribunal; India, to which she flew immediately after her RBG interview; and the Grand Canyon, which she once rafted in an inflatable kayak (wow).
Dee-lightful! On behalf of UTR readers everywhere, A3G extends well-deserved kudos to Lori A. Alvino, Joshua I. Civin, Rebecca Deutsch, and Anna-Rose Mathieson. What a tremendously talented, incredibly interesting foursome!
As the foregoing indicates, Justice Ginsburg is filthy rich -- not just in monetary terms, but in terms of her clerkly talent pool. Some justices, such as Justice Scalia, pick clerks who all fit within a certain mold. But Justice Ginsburg has taken an arguably more interesting approach: she has picked clerks who appeal to different interests and aspects of her personality.
Lori Alvino, the silver-voiced songstress, appeals to the opera-lover in Justice Ginsburg. Joshua Civin, the left-wing crusader, helps RBG relive her bygone days as a liberal activist. Rebecca Deutsch -- who is brilliant, diligent, yet unpretentious -- reminds RBG of her younger self. And the globe-trotting Anna-Rose Mathieson, who has seen more of the world than Carmen Sandiego, shares Justice Ginsburg's keen interest in international law. Like the X-Men, each of the four RBG clerks brings a special power or unique abilty to the Ginsburg chambers. Awesome!
Looking into her crystal ball, Miss Cleo Groupie predicts that this group is highly likely to have a very good year together. In A3G's view, the main question is whether Lori, Rebecca, and Anna-Rose -- who are all fun and fabulous females -- will be able get the deadly earnest Josh to lighten up a little. If they can, they're sure to have a grand old time at One First Street. Good luck, ladies!
* The UTR reader who submitted this tidbit added that gorgeousness "is presumably a rare trait among Supreme Court clerks." Based on the many hotties, of both genders, who have already been profiled in these pages -- enough to fill a calendar called "OT 2005: The Young Hotties of One First Street" -- A3G begs to differ!
Each year the justices' chambers are flooded with some of the most impressive resumes the legal world has ever seen, from brilliant young lawyers who are more than capable of doing the work. Can you blame the justices for using pulchritude as a tie-breaker? (A3G knows that if she ever becomes an A3J, she will hire hunky law clerks -- and have frequent chambers pool parties, with mandatory attendance...)
** Joshua Civin is an Aries; Katherine Newberger is a Cancer. Noted astrologer Susan Miller -- who helped A3G prepare Chief Justice Rehnquist's birthday horoscope -- has the following advice for an Aries who is in a relationship with a Cancer:
In bed, your different styles will surface dramatically. Your lover wants romance, but you are all about raw passion without finessing or caressing. You aren't very sentimental, which could be disappointing to your lover -- you might have to try harder on this count, Aries.
Well! If Justice Ginsburg grants Josh a brief chambers furlough, he would be well-advised to shift from drafting opinions to writing love notes. (Additional astrological observations on the Aries-Cancer pairing are available here.)
*** Incidentally, the Temple Bar Scholarship program is a veritable magnet for the Elect. Check out the photo on page 3 of this brochure (pdf). All four of the pictured scholars are among the Anointed: Catherine Sharkey (DHS, OT 1998); Jenny Martinez (SGB, OT 1998); Jennifer Mason (SOC, OT 2000); and Curtis Gannon (AS, OT 2004).