Barrett and Clerkships

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Barrett and Clerkships

Post by Anonymous User » Sun Sep 27, 2020 12:47 am

Are there any particular effects on the clerkship market that we should expect from Barrett being nominated (and presumably confirmed) to the Supreme Court, barring additional near-term personnel changes?

Off the top of my head, and largely stating the obvious,
1. At the meta level, Harvard, Yale, Columbia, and NYU will likely drop in SCOTUS placement power (especially the latter two) while Chicago and Notre Dame will strengthen
2. In general, right-wing appellate judges' feeding power will increase and left-wing judges' will shrink
3. Basically all top 10% conservatives at HYC will have a decent shot at SCOTUS (even moreso than now)
4. There may be more SCOTUS clerkships for students from T20, T1, etc. schools
5. In the past decade, RBG mostly relied on four feeders. She was responsible for 60% of Watford's feeds, 44% of Tatel's, 40% of Katzmann's, and 17% of Garland's. All will likely decline in their feeding power.

I don't know if ACB has any particularly strong relationships with other judges, but obviously she will play a major role in which of the dozen Trump feeder hopefuls become feeders

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Re: Barrett and Clerkships

Post by Quichelorraine » Sun Sep 27, 2020 10:54 am

I'm just trying to imagine a normal human being Googling "what will happen if Barrett is confirmed," and somehow stumbling across this post, and learning that there's a chance that NYU will drop in SCOTUS clerkship placement power while Chicago and Notre Dame will strengthen. Y'know: the important stuff.

But don't mind me. Carry on.

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Re: Barrett and Clerkships

Post by nixy » Sun Sep 27, 2020 11:59 am

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Re: Barrett and Clerkships

Post by Anonymous User » Sun Sep 27, 2020 12:00 pm

Not that this is anywhere close to the most important thing that will happen as a result of her confirmation, but as a lib at a school she's hired from extensively on CA7, I do wonder if she's willing to hire counterclerks like her old boss.

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Re: Barrett and Clerkships

Post by MarkmanPapers » Sun Sep 27, 2020 2:01 pm

Probably the most predictable outcome is that SCOTUS clerkships will become even rarer for left of center students, even those willing to clerk across ideological lines (which is presumably most given the professional value of any SCOTUS clerk spot).

I wonder the extent to which this narrowing will reduce the degree to which a SCOTUS clerkship is considered a necessity for various kinds of elite-but-in-want-of-ideological-commitment legal employers on the left, such as appellate left PI orgs, left of center SG's offices, etc.

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Re: Barrett and Clerkships

Post by MarkmanPapers » Sun Sep 27, 2020 2:02 pm

That said Quichelorraine is right about how insanely unimportant this question is compared to the other consequences of ACB's likely confirmation, so...yeah.

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Re: Barrett and Clerkships

Post by Anonymous User » Sun Sep 27, 2020 2:34 pm

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Last edited by Anonymous User on Tue Sep 29, 2020 6:23 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Barrett and Clerkships

Post by nixy » Sun Sep 27, 2020 2:40 pm

MarkmanPapers wrote:
Sun Sep 27, 2020 2:01 pm
Probably the most predictable outcome is that SCOTUS clerkships will become even rarer for left of center students, even those willing to clerk across ideological lines (which is presumably most given the professional value of any SCOTUS clerk spot).

I wonder the extent to which this narrowing will reduce the degree to which a SCOTUS clerkship is considered a necessity for various kinds of elite-but-in-want-of-ideological-commitment legal employers on the left, such as appellate left PI orgs, left of center SG's offices, etc.
Are there really enough SCOTUS clerks in the world for a SCOTUS clerkship to be a necessity for any job? Sure, it's certainly going to be a plus for very elite stuff, but necessity seems a little strong.

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Re: Barrett and Clerkships

Post by LBJ's Hair » Sun Sep 27, 2020 3:10 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Sun Sep 27, 2020 2:34 pm
A more obvious implication here is the dumbing-down of scotus clerkships. Even more students will be hired for their ideological bent rather than for outstanding legal ability. This has obviously been occurring for some time now with appellate level judges. This confirmation makes it worse.

And let's not beat around the bush here - many of Trump's appointees are unqualified. They do not adequately understand the law. They produce opinions that demonstrate a lack of seriousness. Their intellect is far below judges like Kagan, Breyer, Tatel, Katzmann, or Garland. It is very sad that the judiciary is sinking so low.
the "conservative judges aren't just morally wrong, they're stupid" trope never gets old

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Re: Barrett and Clerkships

Post by jackshunger » Sun Sep 27, 2020 3:43 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Sun Sep 27, 2020 2:34 pm
A more obvious implication here is the dumbing-down of scotus clerkships. Even more students will be hired for their ideological bent rather than for outstanding legal ability. This has obviously been occurring for some time now with appellate level judges. This confirmation makes it worse.

And let's not beat around the bush here - many of Trump's appointees are unqualified. They do not adequately understand the law. They produce opinions that demonstrate a lack of seriousness. Their intellect is far below judges like Kagan, Breyer, Tatel, Katzmann, or Garland. It is very sad that the judiciary is sinking so low.

Bold anon usage there

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Re: Barrett and Clerkships

Post by Pennoyer v. Meh » Sun Sep 27, 2020 4:23 pm

Maybe ACB hires mostly conservative clerks, but I don't see any reason why her clerks wouldn't be every bit as accomplished as the people RBG would've hired. Let's say one of ACB's 4 clerks is the top student at Notre Dame--is that person really much different from ~90% of the SCOTUS clerks each term? I don't think so. I don't see any reason to think that the people hired by the Trump Justices aren't every bit as qualified as the people hired by the liberal Justices. If anything, I like that Justices like Thomas hire from outside the T14 (or, more usually, HYSC). There are more people capable of being good clerks than exist in four law schools.

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Re: Barrett and Clerkships

Post by Anonymous User » Sun Sep 27, 2020 4:43 pm

Pennoyer v. Meh wrote:
Sun Sep 27, 2020 4:23 pm
Maybe ACB hires mostly conservative clerks, but I don't see any reason why her clerks wouldn't be every bit as accomplished as the people RBG would've hired. Let's say one of ACB's 4 clerks is the top student at Notre Dame--is that person really much different from ~90% of the SCOTUS clerks each term? I don't think so. I don't see any reason to think that the people hired by the Trump Justices aren't every bit as qualified as the people hired by the liberal Justices. If anything, I like that Justices like Thomas hire from outside the T14 (or, more usually, HYSC). There are more people capable of being good clerks than exist in four law schools.
The "dumbing-down" thing is elitist and silly, but to be fair, I don't think it's about the mere fact that she'll hire outside the T14 (which I think is a great thing to be willing to do). I think the argument just has to do with the relative supply and demand in the markets for conservative vs. liberal clerks. There are about to be twice as many conservative justices as liberal justices, but there are probably (I'm totally making this number up) something like 3 or 4 times as many liberal law students as there are conservative law students. So assuming liberal and conservative students have roughly the same academic ability, the conservative justices are going to have to reach farther down the ranking list at any given school to find the same number of conservative applicants. E.g. if you're a conservative student in the top 10% at HYSC, you probably have a much better chance at a SCOTUS clerkship than a liberal student who's in the top 5% of the same class. That being said, the argument is silly and pointless because they're never going to have to reach so far down that they actually have to pick someone who's incompetent or not a hard worker. Liberal students would be justified in feeling it's "not fair," but it's cartoonishly snobbish to suggest that the clerkships are being "dumbed down."

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Re: Barrett and Clerkships

Post by replevin123 » Sun Sep 27, 2020 5:41 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Sun Sep 27, 2020 4:43 pm
Pennoyer v. Meh wrote:
Sun Sep 27, 2020 4:23 pm
Maybe ACB hires mostly conservative clerks, but I don't see any reason why her clerks wouldn't be every bit as accomplished as the people RBG would've hired. Let's say one of ACB's 4 clerks is the top student at Notre Dame--is that person really much different from ~90% of the SCOTUS clerks each term? I don't think so. I don't see any reason to think that the people hired by the Trump Justices aren't every bit as qualified as the people hired by the liberal Justices. If anything, I like that Justices like Thomas hire from outside the T14 (or, more usually, HYSC). There are more people capable of being good clerks than exist in four law schools.
The "dumbing-down" thing is elitist and silly, but to be fair, I don't think it's about the mere fact that she'll hire outside the T14 (which I think is a great thing to be willing to do). I think the argument just has to do with the relative supply and demand in the markets for conservative vs. liberal clerks. There are about to be twice as many conservative justices as liberal justices, but there are probably (I'm totally making this number up) something like 3 or 4 times as many liberal law students as there are conservative law students. So assuming liberal and conservative students have roughly the same academic ability, the conservative justices are going to have to reach farther down the ranking list at any given school to find the same number of conservative applicants. E.g. if you're a conservative student in the top 10% at HYSC, you probably have a much better chance at a SCOTUS clerkship than a liberal student who's in the top 5% of the same class. That being said, the argument is silly and pointless because they're never going to have to reach so far down that they actually have to pick someone who's incompetent or not a hard worker. Liberal students would be justified in feeling it's "not fair," but it's cartoonishly snobbish to suggest that the clerkships are being "dumbed down."
Seems right. And the difference between 5%, 10% or even 15% can be negligible at some of those schools. We've all taken law school exams. Above a certain point, typing speed, preparation, and who's willing to check all the boxes plays much more of a role than intelligence. In any group of top 10% people there is a decent range of intelligence from average (for an "elite" school) to smart to maybe a brilliant all spread throughout.

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Re: Barrett and Clerkships

Post by Pennoyer v. Meh » Sun Sep 27, 2020 5:49 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Sun Sep 27, 2020 4:43 pm
The "dumbing-down" thing is elitist and silly, but to be fair, I don't think it's about the mere fact that she'll hire outside the T14 (which I think is a great thing to be willing to do). I think the argument just has to do with the relative supply and demand in the markets for conservative vs. liberal clerks. There are about to be twice as many conservative justices as liberal justices, but there are probably (I'm totally making this number up) something like 3 or 4 times as many liberal law students as there are conservative law students. So assuming liberal and conservative students have roughly the same academic ability, the conservative justices are going to have to reach farther down the ranking list at any given school to find the same number of conservative applicants.
I'd maybe accept that if it weren't for the fact that Justices routinely hire people with multiple years of work experience, not even including clerkships. It's not like only the Class of 2021 is considered; easily the last four years of classes get considered, at least. There are more students than there are slots every year, regardless of an ideological lean. It just seems weird to me (but maybe I'm taking an argument seriously which doesn't merit it).

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Re: Barrett and Clerkships

Post by stupididiot » Sun Sep 27, 2020 8:15 pm

SCOTUS will always get capable and highly intelligent clerks, so the 'dumbing down' with respect to SCOTUS is silly. But it does make sense, given the shortage in conservative law students and the over-representation of conservative judges, that some dropoff in quality would be seen at the lower levels. I dont know if that means COA judges in non-prestige districts, or district court judges, but at some level any conservative with a pulse and a T6 admission will get a clerkship if they want. So at SCOTUS there wont be a huge difference in qualifications between liberal and conservative clerks, but at a district court there very well could be.

I do think there will be more and more emphasis on state courts though, as people will try to fight through state constitutions and state court to avoid SCOTUS. I think major state supreme courts may gain prestige relative to generic district court clerkships.

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Re: Barrett and Clerkships

Post by Anonymous User » Sun Sep 27, 2020 10:31 pm

stupididiot wrote:
Sun Sep 27, 2020 8:15 pm
I do think there will be more and more emphasis on state courts though, as people will try to fight through state constitutions and state court to avoid SCOTUS. I think major state supreme courts may gain prestige relative to generic district court clerkships.
Plausible, but this will be somewhat limited by the number of SSCs many of whose members are widely known to be partisan hacks.

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Re: Barrett and Clerkships

Post by nixy » Sun Sep 27, 2020 11:42 pm

stupididiot wrote:
Sun Sep 27, 2020 8:15 pm
SCOTUS will always get capable and highly intelligent clerks, so the 'dumbing down' with respect to SCOTUS is silly. But it does make sense, given the shortage in conservative law students and the over-representation of conservative judges, that some dropoff in quality would be seen at the lower levels. I dont know if that means COA judges in non-prestige districts, or district court judges, but at some level any conservative with a pulse and a T6 admission will get a clerkship if they want. So at SCOTUS there wont be a huge difference in qualifications between liberal and conservative clerks, but at a district court there very well could be.
I guess I'm not certain that just because someone is a conservative DCt judge, they're going to select strongly for ideology. There are plenty who don't, because it's a much less ideological position than SCOTUS or even COA. If the idea is that all the Trump judges are going to be conservative ideologues who will administer purity tests in hiring, I mean, it's certainly possible, but I don't know that it's necessarily going to be true. (I'm also not convinced that there's so much a shortage of conservative - or conservative-compatible - applicants that we're really going to see measurable dumbing-down given the number of applications that judges get, but who knows.)

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Re: Barrett and Clerkships

Post by Anonymous User » Mon Sep 28, 2020 2:00 am

nixy wrote:
Sun Sep 27, 2020 11:42 pm
stupididiot wrote:
Sun Sep 27, 2020 8:15 pm
SCOTUS will always get capable and highly intelligent clerks, so the 'dumbing down' with respect to SCOTUS is silly. But it does make sense, given the shortage in conservative law students and the over-representation of conservative judges, that some dropoff in quality would be seen at the lower levels. I dont know if that means COA judges in non-prestige districts, or district court judges, but at some level any conservative with a pulse and a T6 admission will get a clerkship if they want. So at SCOTUS there wont be a huge difference in qualifications between liberal and conservative clerks, but at a district court there very well could be.
I guess I'm not certain that just because someone is a conservative DCt judge, they're going to select strongly for ideology. There are plenty who don't, because it's a much less ideological position than SCOTUS or even COA. If the idea is that all the Trump judges are going to be conservative ideologues who will administer purity tests in hiring, I mean, it's certainly possible, but I don't know that it's necessarily going to be true. (I'm also not convinced that there's so much a shortage of conservative - or conservative-compatible - applicants that we're really going to see measurable dumbing-down given the number of applications that judges get, but who knows.)
The way it's turned out at Chicago is that pretty much every conservative with a pulse gets a COA clerkship or two off-plan so few apply for district court clerkships, which generally hire later and less ideologically. I believe that every student in FedSoc who graduated cum laude or better (top third) this year got at least one desirable COA clerkship and only one will also do a district court clerkship. A good number of conservatives outside of the top third also get COA clerkships but generally less desirable ones.

I haven't seen any evidence of a comparable widespread FedSoc boost for Trump district court judges, though I imagine there probably is one for some of the more ideological ones like the Trump DDC appointees. I could be missing a bump because few FedSoc students here feel the need to apply to them though.

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Re: Barrett and Clerkships

Post by Anonymous User » Mon Sep 28, 2020 9:02 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Sun Sep 27, 2020 10:31 pm
stupididiot wrote:
Sun Sep 27, 2020 8:15 pm
I do think there will be more and more emphasis on state courts though, as people will try to fight through state constitutions and state court to avoid SCOTUS. I think major state supreme courts may gain prestige relative to generic district court clerkships.
Plausible, but this will be somewhat limited by the number of SSCs many of whose members are widely known to be partisan hacks.
Lol. Yeah, I guess that's one way SSCs are different from SCOTUS and the federal judiciary generally.

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Re: Barrett and Clerkships

Post by rhododactylos » Mon Sep 28, 2020 3:14 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Sun Sep 27, 2020 2:34 pm
A more obvious implication here is the dumbing-down of scotus clerkships. Even more students will be hired for their ideological bent rather than for outstanding legal ability. This has obviously been occurring for some time now with appellate level judges. This confirmation makes it worse.

And let's not beat around the bush here - many of Trump's appointees are unqualified. They do not adequately understand the law. They produce opinions that demonstrate a lack of seriousness. Their intellect is far below judges like Kagan, Breyer, Tatel, Katzmann, or Garland. It is very sad that the judiciary is sinking so low.

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TheLorax wrote:
Wed Sep 23, 2020 11:45 am
Ya it depends.

If you are a conservative ideologue who pledges allegiance to FedSoc, you chances are high that you can work for a COA judge who is also an unqualified conservative ideologue.

Other than that, D.Ct. where you grew up, or something like that.
Not surprising that the same person is disrupting two different clerkship threads to vent about judges they disagree with.

It's a fair point that conservative judges who want to hire by ideology are hiring from a smaller pool...but the average candidate that a Justice Barratt would reject after an interview is probably smarter and more accomplished by leaps and bounds than anyone on this thread.

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Re: Barrett and Clerkships

Post by Anonymous User » Mon Sep 28, 2020 3:31 pm

rhododactylos wrote:
Mon Sep 28, 2020 3:14 pm
Anonymous User wrote:
Sun Sep 27, 2020 2:34 pm
A more obvious implication here is the dumbing-down of scotus clerkships. Even more students will be hired for their ideological bent rather than for outstanding legal ability. This has obviously been occurring for some time now with appellate level judges. This confirmation makes it worse.

And let's not beat around the bush here - many of Trump's appointees are unqualified. They do not adequately understand the law. They produce opinions that demonstrate a lack of seriousness. Their intellect is far below judges like Kagan, Breyer, Tatel, Katzmann, or Garland. It is very sad that the judiciary is sinking so low.

MOD NOTE: USER OUTED AS "THE LORAX" FOR ANON ABUSE
TheLorax wrote:
Wed Sep 23, 2020 11:45 am
Ya it depends.

If you are a conservative ideologue who pledges allegiance to FedSoc, you chances are high that you can work for a COA judge who is also an unqualified conservative ideologue.

Other than that, D.Ct. where you grew up, or something like that.
Not surprising that the same person is disrupting two different clerkship threads to vent about judges they disagree with.

It's a fair point that conservative judges who want to hire by ideology are hiring from a smaller pool...but the average candidate that a Justice Barratt would reject after an interview is probably smarter and more accomplished by leaps and bounds than anyone on this thread.
Anon because I'm pretty outable at this point.

I took a lot of classes from ACB at NDLS pre-nom CA7. There were a few profs at ND who favored ideology (and ideological students) over intellectual firepower, and she definitely wasn't one of them (complete opposite tbh).

Is she going to dip deeper into the T10/T20/T25 rather than sitting with HYS for every clerk? Yeah, probably, but she was a stickler for academic excellence, so this bizarre thought that she's going to pick up above-median UChi students because they're higher-ups in fedsoc is wildly offbase. It's been years now but she was someone who demanded a lot from her students because she demanded a lot from herself, so unless she's drastically changed since taking the bench, I'd expect her to really stick to hiring top-tier students.

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Re: Barrett and Clerkships

Post by Anonymous User » Mon Sep 28, 2020 4:41 pm

I am a different poster, and I am using the anonymous feature due to identifiable experience with this process.

The suggestion that a Justice Barrett would water down the SCOTUS clerkship pool is baseless. Less than .1% of law school graduates obtain a SCOTUS clerkship. The number of qualified applicants (of any political persuasion) dwarfs the number of spots available. I doubt anyone could distinguish the country's twentieth-best conservative clerkship applicant from the country's twentieth-best liberal clerkship applicant when it comes to intelligence or credentials. Remember, conservative Rhodes Scholars strike out at SCOTUS every year.

Of course, Justice Barrett's hiring will differ from Justice Ginsburg's. Watford, Katzmann, and Tatel will feed less. Katsas, Wilkinson, and Sutton will feed more. Some Trump appointees may emerge as feeders or semi-feeders. I would pay special attention to judges who formerly clerked for Justice Scalia. It remains to be seen whether Justice Barrett will hire from a broader range of schools than Justice Ginsburg did, but it is safe to assume her confirmation will benefit Notre Dame somewhat.

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Re: Barrett and Clerkships

Post by nixy » Mon Sep 28, 2020 4:48 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Mon Sep 28, 2020 3:31 pm
rhododactylos wrote:
Mon Sep 28, 2020 3:14 pm
Anonymous User wrote:
Sun Sep 27, 2020 2:34 pm
A more obvious implication here is the dumbing-down of scotus clerkships. Even more students will be hired for their ideological bent rather than for outstanding legal ability. This has obviously been occurring for some time now with appellate level judges. This confirmation makes it worse.

And let's not beat around the bush here - many of Trump's appointees are unqualified. They do not adequately understand the law. They produce opinions that demonstrate a lack of seriousness. Their intellect is far below judges like Kagan, Breyer, Tatel, Katzmann, or Garland. It is very sad that the judiciary is sinking so low.

MOD NOTE: USER OUTED AS "THE LORAX" FOR ANON ABUSE
TheLorax wrote:
Wed Sep 23, 2020 11:45 am
Ya it depends.

If you are a conservative ideologue who pledges allegiance to FedSoc, you chances are high that you can work for a COA judge who is also an unqualified conservative ideologue.

Other than that, D.Ct. where you grew up, or something like that.
Not surprising that the same person is disrupting two different clerkship threads to vent about judges they disagree with.

It's a fair point that conservative judges who want to hire by ideology are hiring from a smaller pool...but the average candidate that a Justice Barratt would reject after an interview is probably smarter and more accomplished by leaps and bounds than anyone on this thread.
Anon because I'm pretty outable at this point.

I took a lot of classes from ACB at NDLS pre-nom CA7. There were a few profs at ND who favored ideology (and ideological students) over intellectual firepower, and she definitely wasn't one of them (complete opposite tbh).

Is she going to dip deeper into the T10/T20/T25 rather than sitting with HYS for every clerk? Yeah, probably, but she was a stickler for academic excellence, so this bizarre thought that she's going to pick up above-median UChi students because they're higher-ups in fedsoc is wildly offbase. It's been years now but she was someone who demanded a lot from her students because she demanded a lot from herself, so unless she's drastically changed since taking the bench, I'd expect her to really stick to hiring top-tier students.
To be fair, this is consistent with everything I’ve read about her (though I don’t share her politics). If you think hiring someone who’s conservative is de facto dumbing it down, that’s one thing, and if you think everyone outside the T6 are mouth breathers who could only get hired to SCOTUS for being ideologues, that’s another thing, but neither are really objective assessments of the impact ACB’s appt would have on SCOTUS clerks.

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Re: Barrett and Clerkships

Post by Anonymous User » Mon Sep 28, 2020 10:01 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Mon Sep 28, 2020 3:31 pm
I took a lot of classes from ACB at NDLS pre-nom CA7. There were a few profs at ND who favored ideology (and ideological students) over intellectual firepower, and she definitely wasn't one of them (complete opposite tbh).
Did she seem like the type who would actually hire counterclerks?

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Re: Barrett and Clerkships

Post by lavarman84 » Mon Sep 28, 2020 10:12 pm

nixy wrote:
Mon Sep 28, 2020 4:48 pm
To be fair, this is consistent with everything I’ve read about her (though I don’t share her politics). If you think hiring someone who’s conservative is de facto dumbing it down, that’s one thing, and if you think everyone outside the T6 are mouth breathers who could only get hired to SCOTUS for being ideologues, that’s another thing, but neither are really objective assessments of the impact ACB’s appt would have on SCOTUS clerks.
I'm not a fan of Justice Thomas, but I'd argue one of the things he does right is go outside the t14 law schools for candidates. To the extent ACB does that, she'll have my respect.

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