Anthony Kennedy, Antonin Scalia, Clerkships, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, SCOTUS, Supreme Court, Supreme Court Clerks

Supreme Court Clerk Hiring Watch: All of October Term 2010
Plus several hires for October Term 2011.

Earlier this week, the New York Daily News reported that Justice Anthony M. Kennedy has no plans of stepping down from the Supreme Court anytime soon. This wasn’t terribly exciting, since there haven’t been any rumblings of an AMK departure. In addition, Justice Kennedy has already hired at least two law clerks for October Term 2011.

And so have several of his colleagues, including Justices Antonin Scalia and Ruth Bader Ginsburg (who are said to be done with their OT 2011 hiring). Some have wondered whether Justice Ginsburg might be leaving the Court, given her health issues. But RBG’s commitment to the Court appears strong — she took the bench the day after the deeply sad passing of her husband, Marty Ginsburg — and her hiring a full clerk complement for 2011-2012 suggests she isn’t going anywhere.

A full list of the October Term 2010 law clerks, who are starting at One First Street this month, plus news (and rumor) of OT 2011 hires — after the jump.

Is a Supreme Court clerkship an unmitigated good? Not necessarily. During the recent Supreme Court confirmation hearings of Elena Kagan, Lady Kaga was given a hard time about some memos she wrote as a law clerk to Justice Thurgood Marshall. Robert Barnes of the Washington Post wrote:

Solicitor General Elena Kagan’s membership in an exclusive club is causing trouble for her Supreme Court nomination. But that is unlikely to defer future applicants.

Kagan is part of a vast network of lawyers of all political persuasions who clerked for a Supreme Court justice. It is a group that grows by about 40 lawyers every year and plays an increasing role in the workings of the court — as practitioners, analysts and law professors whose work centers on the institution.

“You never get over it,” said Pamela S. Karlan, who clerked for then-Justice Harry A. Blackmun and now regularly argues before the court. She is co-director of Stanford Law School’s Supreme Court Litigation Clinic.

Indeed. And some say you never get over not getting a SCOTUS clerkship. (It took me many years and lots of therapy to get over my ill-fated interviews — and I’m still not completely recovered.)

Kagan has deflected criticism over her law clerk memos by stating that they largely reflected Justice Marshall’s views, describing herself as a “27-year-old pipsqueak” working for a “90-year-old giant in the law.” And in emphasizing the limited nature of the law clerk’s role and the clerk’s duty to reflect the views of her justice, the Divine Miss K had some support from other former Supreme Court clerks — including ones of a less “progressive” persuasion, such as Eugene Volokh.

Despite the potential for causing problems down the road, SCOTUS clerkships still attract the best and the brightest of America’s young lawyers. And their continued allure is understandable. In addition to the unmatched prestige of these posts, there are monetary incentives. In recent years, Supreme Court clerks leaving their clerkships for large law firms have received signing bonuses of up to $250,000 — in addition to their standard base compensation and bonus. (For a defense of lavish SCOTUS clerk bonuses, see my New York Times op-ed piece.)

As we have done in the past, we’d like to report on what the Supreme Court clerkship bonus is up to for clerks who just finished up at the Court (i.e., October Term 2009 clerks). If you have info on that, even secondhand, please email us (subject line: “SCOTUS clerk bonus”).

Without further ado, here are lists of the Supreme Court clerks for October Term 2010 and October Term 2011. As you can see, various pieces of information are missing here and there, and we have listed some information as mere rumor (not fully confirmed). We’ve assembled this information from our own sources and from various message boards (links collected at the end of this post).

To complete the picture, we need your help. If you notice an error or omission, or if you have some information that we haven’t already reported, please email us (subject line: “SCOTUS clerk hiring”). We keep all sources anonymous (unless a shout-out is requested). Thanks!


OCTOBER TERM 2010 SUPREME COURT CLERK HIRES (as of July 7, 2010)

Chief Justice John G. Roberts
1. Paul Crane (UVA 2007 / Wilkinson)
2. Kate Heinzelman (Yale 2009 / Garland)
3. Zac Hudson (Yale 2009 / Kavanaugh)
4. Kathryn Tarbert (Vanderbilt 2005 / Ginsburg (D.C. Cir.))

Justice Antonin Scalia
1. Robert Allen (Harvard 2009 / Boudin)
2. Matt Owen (Michigan 2008 / Gorsuch)
3. Adam Unikowsky (Harvard 2007 / D. Ginsburg)
4. Jason Wilcox (Chicago 2009 / Sutton)

Justice Anthony M. Kennedy
1. Steven Horowitz (Harvard 2009 / Posner)
2. Rob Johnson (Harvard 2009 / Kozinski)
3. Richard Re (Yale 2008 / Kavanaugh)
4. James Stern (UVA 2009 / Wilkinson)

Justice Clarence Thomas
1. Matthew Fitzgerald (UVA 2008 / Carnes)
2. Allison Jones (Duke 2007 / Gorsuch / Sentelle)
3. Elbert Lin (Yale 2003 / W. Pryor)
4. Will Peterson (Texas 2008 / Jones (5th Cir.))

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg
1. Amy Bergquist (U. Minnesota 2007 / W. Fletcher / J. Tunheim (D. Minn.))
2. Keith Bradley (Columbia 2007 / Janice Rogers Brown)
3. David Newman (Yale 2006 / Katzmann / Rakoff (S.D.N.Y.))
4. Elisabeth Theodore (Harvard 2009 / Garland)

Justice Stephen G. Breyer
1. Erika Myers (Stanford 2008 / Kozinski)
2. Brian Netter (Yale 2006 / Rogers (D.C. Cir.))
3. Natalie Ram (Yale 2008 / Calabresi)
4. David Zionts (Harvard 2008 / Garland)

Justice Samuel Alito
1. John Cerreta (Cornell 2005 / Chagares / Alito (3d Cir.))
2. Steven Menashi (Stanford 2008 / D. Ginsburg)
3. Garrick Sevilla (Duke 2007 / J.R. Brown (D.C. Cir.))
4. Tara Stuckey (Notre Dame 2007 / Sutton)

Justice Sonia Sotomayor
1. Kevin Arlyck (NYU 2008 / Katzmann)
2. Thomas Lue (Harvard 2005 / Raggi / G. Lynch)
3. Abby Mollen (Northwestern 2008 / Tatel)
4. Amy Mason Saharia (Duke 2005 / Chatigny (D. Conn.) / Newman)

Successor to Justice John Paul Stevens (most likely Elena Kagan)
1. ?
2. ?
3. ?
4. ?

Justice John Paul Stevens (retired)
1. Sam Erman (Michigan 2007 / Garland)

Justice Sandra Day O’Connor (retired):
1. Kristen Eichensehr (Yale 2008 / Garland)

Justice David H. Souter (retired):
1. ? (rumor: U. Chicago grad, per Chicago Law clerkship list-serv)

UPDATE (7/16/10): The Souter clerk for OT 2010 is Brook Hopkins (Harvard 2007 / Bleeding Reinhardt).


OCTOBER TERM 2011 SUPREME COURT CLERK HIRES (as of July 7, 2010)

Chief Justice John G. Roberts
1. Hagan Scotten (Harvard 2010 / Kavanaugh)
2. ?
3. ?
4. ?

Justice Antonin Scalia
1. Rebecca Krauss (Yale 2010 / Kavanaugh)
2. John Moran (UVA 2010 / Sutton)
3. ? (rumor: Harvard)
4. ? (rumor: UVA)

Justice Anthony M. Kennedy
1. Ishan Bhabha (Harvard 2009 / Garland)
2. Leah Litman (Michigan 2010 / unidentified 6th Cir. judge)
3. ?
4. ?

Justice Clarence Thomas
1. ?
2. ?
3. ?
4. ?

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg
1. Benjamin Beaton (Columbia 2009 / D. Ginsburg Randolph)
2. Gerry Sinzdak (Berkeley 2008 / Berzon)
3. ? (rumor: Georgetown / Tatel Tot)
4. ? (rumor: Harvard, female)

Justice Stephen G. Breyer
1. ?
2. ?
3. ?
4. ?

(Rumor: Justice Breyer has started interviewing and/or hiring.)

Justice Samuel Alito
1. ?
2. ?
3. ?
4. ?

Justice Sonia Sotomayor
1. ?
2. ?
3. ?
4. ?

(Rumor: Justice Sotomayor has made offers to various people whom she hired to clerk for her at the Second Circuit.)

Successor to Justice John Paul Stevens (most likely Elena Kagan)
1. ?
2. ?
3. ?
4. ?

Justice John Paul Stevens (retired)
1. Dina Mishra (Yale 2009 / Boudin)

Justice Sandra Day O’Connor (retired):
1. ?

Justice David H. Souter (retired):
1. ? (rumor: U. Chicago grad, per Chicago Law clerkship list-serv)


If you notice an error or omission, if you can fill in a blank, or if you have some information that we haven’t already reported, please email us (subject line: “SCOTUS clerk hiring”). Thanks.

Bad news for Obama [New York Daily News]
Relevance of Kagan’s work as clerk on Supreme Court debated [Washington Post]
Judicial Law Clerks’ Memos to Their Bosses [Volokh Conspiracy]
SCOTUS OT 2010 [Law Clerk Addict]
SCOTUS Clerk Hiring [Clerkship Notification Blog]
List of law clerks of the Supreme Court of the United States [Wikipedia]

Earlier: Prior ATL coverage of Supreme Court clerks (scroll down)

40 comments
(hidden for your protection)

comments sponsored by

Show all comments

Our Sites

  • Above the Law
  • How Appealing
  • ATL Redline
  • Breaking Defense
  • Breaking Energy
  • Breaking Gov
  • Dealbreaker
  • Fashonista
  •