Applying to ideologically opposite judge

Seek and share information about clerkship applications, clerkship hiring timelines, and post-clerkship employment opportunities.
Forum rules
Anonymous Posting

Anonymous posting is only appropriate when you are sharing sensitive information about clerkship applications and clerkship hiring. You may anonymously respond on topic to these threads. Unacceptable uses include: harassing another user, joking around, testing the feature, or other things that are more appropriate in the lounge.

Failure to follow these rules will get you outed, warned, or banned."
Anonymous User
Posts: 273280
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Applying to ideologically opposite judge

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Oct 22, 2013 3:43 pm

Would you apply for a Judge that you are almost completely ideologically opposite from? There is a State Appeals Court law clerk job open that I am considering applying for. This is not the final court (the Supreme Court in my state) but is the immediate court. I am leading toward saying I should not apply but I'd like to get everyone elses input.

User avatar
ph14
Posts: 3225
Joined: Mon Sep 12, 2011 11:15 pm

Re: Applying to ideologically opposite judge

Postby ph14 » Tue Oct 22, 2013 3:46 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Would you apply for a Judge that you are almost completely ideologically opposite from? There is a State Appeals Court law clerk job open that I am considering applying for. This is not the final court (the Supreme Court in my state) but is the immediate court. I am leading toward saying I should not apply but I'd like to get everyone elses input.


This is a personal question really. If you're that ideological that you couldn't be a an assistant to someone that shares different ideological views than you, then you shouldn't. If it's not going to bother you, then you should.

User avatar
A. Nony Mouse
Posts: 22836
Joined: Tue Sep 25, 2012 11:51 am

Re: Applying to ideologically opposite judge

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Tue Oct 22, 2013 4:12 pm

For what it's worth, in the vast majority of work you'd do at a state COA (and probably most clerkships), ideological leanings are virtually irrelevant. Opinions on abortion and so on don't matter in the slightest when you're addressing the seventeenth argument that a conviction should be overturned for prosecutorial misconduct. Most of the time, the opinions are going to be completely constrained by precedent. I actually worked on first-impression(ish) cases involving abortion and the death penalty, but what I/the judge thought of those things wasn't what drove the analysis. And ideological leanings don't translate neatly into particular jurisprudential stances, either.

Now, you do have to consider whether you'd be willing/able to work really closely with someone who has completely different opinions than you do. The second judge I clerked for was at the other end of the political spectrum from me. He was a great guy and I had no problem working with him at all (again, as for the actual work, politics were never an issue at all). I did have to bite my tongue in chambers sometimes, though, or figure out some kind of a tactful response. It was probably a good experience for me, but was sometimes frustrating.

So, if you're worried about the work, I don't think politics matter at all. They can matter for the interpersonal part of clerking (though I'd rather work for a nice judge politically opposed to me, than a mean judge who agrees with me).

Anonymous User
Posts: 273280
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Applying to ideologically opposite judge

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Oct 23, 2013 4:09 pm

In civil cases there can be a lot of cases of first impression and many of those are on touchy ideological/political issues. There's public sector bargaining law, eminent domain, and state regulatory schemes like worker's comp, as well as consumer protection, employment discrimination, and state taxation. Although these aren't likely to be headline news, they are definitely politically sensitive topics.

I'd still apply for many reasons, since it's not likely that the judge is going to say "the statute and the SSC cases say one thing, but private property is so 20th Century so find me a way to screw this guy out of his house." Otherwise it is like any other boss. If the judge is interested in hearing your opinions on the government shutdown she'll ask, if not, then keep them to yourself as you would at a law firm.

Anonymous User
Posts: 273280
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Applying to ideologically opposite judge

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Oct 24, 2013 11:43 pm

I worked for an ideologically opposite judge and it was fantastic. First, I really respect the man and think he is a fantastic judge... he just sees things (everything) differently than me. Just like lots of judges feel that a clerk with an opposite viewpoint pushes them and makes them better, well I can't even tell you how much that exact benefit flows the other way. There were some cases I would just sit there for hours trying to figure out a way to persuade him to adopt my position using a rationale that he'd accept. But normally though, you realize that the law is the law and each other's ideology has almost no bearing on the case. So in my experience, as long as the judge is good, its a great experience.

hiima3L
Posts: 837
Joined: Sun Mar 25, 2012 10:26 pm

Re: Applying to ideologically opposite judge

Postby hiima3L » Sat Oct 26, 2013 3:58 pm

Assuming the same personality/ability to work together/workplace environment, I'd prefer to work for an ideologically opposite judge. It would make things even more interesting, less routine, and generally more fun.

I interned with a judge who had a VERY conservative viewpoint on something, and we debated it for weeks. It was one of the best naval-gazing experiences I've ever had in the legal world.




Return to “Judicial Clerkships”

Who is online

The online users are hidden on this forum.