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A Sign of the Court’s Polarization: Choice of Clerks

danarhea

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WASHINGTON — Each year, 36 young lawyers obtain the most coveted credential in American law: a Supreme Court clerkship. Clerking for a justice is a glittering capstone on a résumé that almost always includes outstanding grades at a top law school, service on a law review and a prestigious clerkship with a federal appeals court judge.

Justice Clarence Thomas apparently has one additional requirement. Without exception, the 84 clerks he has chosen over his two decades on the court all first trained with an appeals court judge appointed by a Republican president.

But it's not just Thomas who only hires ideologues to clerk for him. The Liberal judges do it too. Which brings us to the following question:

1) Should ideology be kept out of the court system?

OR

2) Since judges have a particular ideology in interpreting the Constitution, hiring clerks of same ideology is an acceptable practice, in that those future lawyers and judges will eventually rise to a position where they can continue interpreting the Constitution according to that ideology?

Discussion?

Article is here.
 
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RightinNYC

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But it's not just Thomas who only hires ideologues to clerk for him. The Liberal judges do it too. Which brings us to the following question:

1) Should ideology be kept out of the court system?

OR

2) Since judges have a particular ideology in interpreting the Constitution, hiring clerks of same ideology is an acceptable practice, in that those future lawyers and judges will eventually rise to a position where they can continue interpreting the Constitution according to that ideology?

Discussion?

Article is here.

The argument in this article is pretty dumb - who appointed each individual judge isn't really the issue, as it's the ideology of the particular judge that matters. The article confuses the two, assuming that every judge appointed by a Republican is a conservative and vice versa. One quick look at our current and recent SC proves that that's a bit foolish.

The fact is that Justices tend to hire from judges that they know and respect, just like clerks tend to apply to judges that they agree with. The liberal people I know who applied for SC clerkships only focused on liberal justices and vice versa. The article makes it sound like everyone applies to every justice, when that's not really how it works. 95% of people applying to clerk for the SC have no shot. Of the 5% who have a shot, it's personal phone calls from the feeder judges that get you the interview. Reinhardt doesn't call Scalia on behalf of his clerks very often.

edit: I also don't know that it's accurate to say that the justices hire "ideologues" just because they hire people who tend to agree with them. Most people who clerk on the COA or for the SC aren't mindless partisans.
 
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Harshaw

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That, and . . . if they overtly pick clerks who are in line with their own views . . . so what?

Seriously, this is as much ado about absolutely nothing as I've seen in the past month.
 

TurtleDude

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But it's not just Thomas who only hires ideologues to clerk for him. The Liberal judges do it too. Which brings us to the following question:

1) Should ideology be kept out of the court system?

OR

2) Since judges have a particular ideology in interpreting the Constitution, hiring clerks of same ideology is an acceptable practice, in that those future lawyers and judges will eventually rise to a position where they can continue interpreting the Constitution according to that ideology?

Discussion?

Article is here.

having had several close friends who served as Clerks (including Justice Kennedy's first clerk) I can note several things

1) not all justices are that way. Sandra Day O'Connor picked a guy (he was a professor I had in LS) who was a kennedy delegate in 1980. He had a PhD and JD from a top university and wasn't all that political

2) some less than prestigious law schools get more clerks due to the "guarantee" of poltiical orthodoxy . For example, ND and BYU have had more clerks than say law schools ranked in the second five such as U Penn and Cornell because there isn't much chance that a BYU grad is gonna be a closet socialist.

3) we all would love Justices who are objectve but I suspect my view of what an objective interpretation of say the second amendment truly means is much different than what Chuck Schumer says it means (though in reality I believe he knows it stands in the way of his anti gun schemes)
 

danarhea

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having had several close friends who served as Clerks (including Justice Kennedy's first clerk) I can note several things

1) not all justices are that way. Sandra Day O'Connor picked a guy (he was a professor I had in LS) who was a kennedy delegate in 1980. He had a PhD and JD from a top university and wasn't all that political

2) some less than prestigious law schools get more clerks due to the "guarantee" of poltiical orthodoxy . For example, ND and BYU have had more clerks than say law schools ranked in the second five such as U Penn and Cornell because there isn't much chance that a BYU grad is gonna be a closet socialist.

3) we all would love Justices who are objectve but I suspect my view of what an objective interpretation of say the second amendment truly means is much different than what Chuck Schumer says it means (though in reality I believe he knows it stands in the way of his anti gun schemes)

Define objective - The way I see it, Justices are appointed by a given president, based on either a strict or loose interpretation of the constitution that that particular president believes in. Either view can be considered objective, depending on the side that supports the ideology behind it.
 
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TurtleDude

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Define objective - The way I see it, Justices are appointed by a given president, based on either a strict or loose interpretation of the constitution that that particular president believes in. Either view can be considered objective, depending on the side that supports the ideology behind it.

exactly the point
 
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