What happens to SCOTUS nominee's future clerks?

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What happens to SCOTUS nominee's future clerks?

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Jan 31, 2017 11:36 pm

Title says it all. Curious how things might work out for the folks scheduled to clerk for Judge Gorsuch (or, in a counterfactual, Judge Garland) in 2017-18 or 2018-19 terms.

I assume they don't go to SCOTUS straight off- are they SOL, placed with other COA judges, deferred to subsequent SCOTUS terms?

Curious if anyone has any speculations/historical insights.

RaceJudicata

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Re: What happens to SCOTUS nominee's future clerks?

Postby RaceJudicata » Tue Jan 31, 2017 11:48 pm

Pretty sure they come along for the ride. Clerkship lottery winners. Could be wrong, but I think that was consensus in a thread not too long ago.

mecarey

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Re: What happens to SCOTUS nominee's future clerks?

Postby mecarey » Wed Feb 01, 2017 12:21 am

Judge Gorsuch has already been hiring SCOTUS-quality clerks for a while now, and has earned his reputation as a feeder judge. In fact, since 2009 he has sent eleven of his clerks on to be SCOTUS clerks. Many of them had clerkships before they were with his chambers (he tends to hire almost two years out).

So for a judge of his caliber, with clerks of their caliber, most (if not all) should be along for the ride.

On a side note, it would be a much more interesting question if one of the state supreme court justices from President Trump's original list would have been nominated. Many (if not almost all) clerks at that level are on their first clerkship and come from a different educational background. I'm not saying that some of those clerks wouldn't be ready for a SCOTUS clerkship, but taking along a full chambers of first-time clerks would be an . . . interesting . . . proposition.

My two cents.

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Re: What happens to SCOTUS nominee's future clerks?

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Feb 01, 2017 10:33 am

They're almost certainly not going to go straight to SCOTUS. That doesn't really happen. A justice isn't likely to take a clerk without some court experience first.

Much more likely is helping find them positions with other COA judges and slotting them in future terms. I think they will most likely "come along for the ride," but with a delay. (Though, I'm less sure about his current clerks. Were he to get confirmed quickly, I do think it's possible that he would take this class with him. But they, of course, have had nearly half a term of experience.)

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Re: What happens to SCOTUS nominee's future clerks?

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Feb 02, 2017 12:33 am

Anonymous User wrote:They're almost certainly not going to go straight to SCOTUS. That doesn't really happen. A justice isn't likely to take a clerk without some court experience first.

Much more likely is helping find them positions with other COA judges and slotting them in future terms. I think they will most likely "come along for the ride," but with a delay. (Though, I'm less sure about his current clerks. Were he to get confirmed quickly, I do think it's possible that he would take this class with him. But they, of course, have had nearly half a term of experience.)


I think this is right. If Gorsuch is confirmed by the end of this term (likely that he'll at least be around for their conferences in the spring), his current clerks would likely join him and I wouldn't be surprised if all or most of them are hired as his OT 2017 clerks (Alito and Roberts both did this, Sotomayor didn't but as a circuit judge she wasn't drawing feeder-quality talent the way the other two were).

But the CA10 clerks he hired for 2017-18 and 2018-19 probably won't get an immediate trip to SCOTUS since no one in recent memory has served as a SCOTUS clerk without first doing a previous clerkship, and I know from a friend's experience that Gorsuch doesn't hire people who have done a previous circuit clerkship. So those people will have to find another judge, but if (when) they do they'd have a leg up with a Justice Gorsuch since he's already hired them once.

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Re: What happens to SCOTUS nominee's future clerks?

Postby ggocat » Thu Feb 02, 2017 1:25 pm

mecarey wrote:On a side note, it would be a much more interesting question if one of the state supreme court justices from President Trump's original list would have been nominated. Many (if not almost all) clerks at that level are on their first clerkship and come from a different educational background. I'm not saying that some of those clerks wouldn't be ready for a SCOTUS clerkship, but taking along a full chambers of first-time clerks would be an . . . interesting . . . proposition.

Will just add to this based on my experience in state court. Many state supreme court judges have all or some permanent staff. I'd be surprised if a SSC judge has four term clerks like at SCOTUS. So likely not all would be first-time clerks.

Although, yes, a federal circuit court clerk may be more qualified based on school/grades, someone with a SSC clerkship is better prepared for the actual tasks of a SCOTUS clerk, assuming the SSC has discretionary review. Most of a clerk's time at SCOTUS and SSC is spent reviewing petitions and deciding whether to accept a case. Less time is spent writing opinions on cases that have been accepted, which is what most federal circuit court clerks do.



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