Clarence Thomas, Clerkships, Elena Kagan, Feeder Judges, John Roberts, Politics, SCOTUS, Supreme Court, Supreme Court Clerks

Supreme Court Clerk Hiring Watch: New Term, New Hires

Monday, October 4, marked the start of a new Supreme Court Term — October Term 2010, to be more specific. It also marked the first day of oral arguments for the newest member of the Court — Lady Kaga, aka Associate Justice Elena Kagan. As Justice White famously observed, a new justice makes a new court.

New Term, new justice, new court — and that’s not all that’s new in SCOTUS-related matters. There’s a new conservative sheriff in town, at least according to Jan Crawford. There’s a new book out about the Court — the long-awaited biography of Justice Brennan, by Seth Stern and Stephen Wermiel.

And, of course, we have new Supreme Court clerk hires to report, for the Term after this one — October Term 2011. Not all the justices are done hiring, at least as far as we know; but if you covet a Supreme Court clerkship, accurately described by Adam Liptak as “the most coveted credential in American law,” you should know that the window of opportunity is closing — fast. One justice has even hired a clerk for October Term 2012.

Let’s check out the new hires, shall we?

Word on the street is that Justice Kagan has completed her law clerk hiring for OT 2011. Here are the names we’ve confirmed:

1. Jonathan Schneller (Harvard 2010 / Reinhardt)

2. Rakesh Kilaru (Stanford 2010 / Wilkinson)

So the Divine Miss K took one clerk from the uber-liberal, Carter-appointed Judge Reinhardt, and another clerk from the conservative (but nice), Reagan-appointed Judge Wilkinson. Very balanced of her. Is Justice Kagan being influenced by the New York Times, which back in September did an exposé on the politicization of SCOTUS clerk hiring?

(Alas, the “Liptak Effect” doesn’t have quite the same ring as the Greenhouse Effect.)

Who are the other Kagan clerks? If you know, please email us, subject line “SCOTUS Clerk Hiring,” or text us. (Rumor is that another one of them is also a Wilkinson clerk.)

And perhaps Justice Kagan isn’t the only member of the Court who, inspired by the NYT coverage of politicized clerk hiring, is trying to hire from the other side of the aisle. Here is Chief Justice John Roberts’s latest hire:

Colleen Roh (Harvard 2010 / Garland)

Yup, Judge Merrick Garland (D.C. Cir.) — a top feeder judge, but from the Democratic camp, a former Clinton Administration official who is often mentioned as a possible Obama nominee to the Supreme Court.

Finally, here is Justice Clarence Thomas’s clerk hire for October Term 2012 (yes, that’s right, OT 2012 — guess CT isn’t planning to run for president):

Kenton Skarin (Northwestern 2009 / Wilkinson)

Another Wilkinson clerk — and rumor has it that one of CT’s hires for October Term 2011 is a Wilkinson clerk as well. It seems that Judge Wilkinson, a longtime runner, is sprinting away from the other feeder judges with respect to the next two Terms.

With these new names added, here’s the updated list of OT 2011 law clerks. It also reflects some other small corrections made to the last version, with respect to such matters as law school graduation years and name spellings.

As always, if you have any additions or corrections, please email us, subject line “SCOTUS Clerk Hiring,” or text us. Thanks!


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

Justice Antonin Scalia
1. Donald Burke (UVA 2008 / Kethledge)
2. Rebecca Krauss (Yale 2010 / Kavanaugh)
2. John Moran (UVA 2010 / Sutton)
4. Carl Marchioli (Harvard 2010 / Colloton)

Justice Anthony M. Kennedy
1. Ishan Bhabha (Harvard 2009 / Garland)
2. Leah Litman (Michigan 2010 / Sutton)
3. ?
4. ?

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

For October Term 2012: Kenton Skarin (Northwestern 2009 / Wilkinson).

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg
1. Benjamin Beaton (Columbia 2009 / Randolph)
2. Jennifer Clark (Georgetown 2008 / Tatel Tot)
3. Gerry Sinzdak (Berkeley 2008 / Berzon)
4. Rachel Wainer Apter (Harvard 2007 / Katzmann / Rakoff)

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

(Rumor: Justice Breyer has started interviewing and hiring; he has hired one Georgetown grad for OT 2011.)

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.)

Justice Elena Kagan
1. Jonathan Schneller (Harvard 2010 / Reinhardt)
2. Rakesh Kilaru (Stanford 2010 / Wilkinson)
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. Matthew Tokson (Chicago 2008 / Randolph)

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.

SCOTUS OT 2010 [Law Clerk Addict]
List of law clerks of the Supreme Court of the United States [Wikipedia]

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

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