Supreme Court Clerks

Antonin Scalia

Society cannot afford to have such a huge proportion of its best minds going into the law.

Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, commenting on the state of the legal profession at the 2012 Midyear Meeting of the American Bar Association in New Orleans.

(Justice Scalia comments on Biglaw’s flawed compensation system, after the jump.)

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Being a justice of the United States Supreme Court is a pretty great gig. You get to attend glamorous events like Tuesday night’s State of the Union address. You get to wear a snazzy black robe on said occasions.

Sure, there’s some work involved. SCOTUS opinions can be loooong! But at least the justices have their trusty Supreme Court clerks, three dozen or so of the nation’s brightest young legal minds, to help get everything done.

Thanks to everyone who responded to our recent request for tips about law clerk hiring activity at SCOTUS. Let’s take a look at what we’ve learned, shall we?

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Many months have passed since our last report on the hiring of Supreme Court law clerks. We are getting ready to do a new report. If you have SCOTUS clerk hiring news for October Term 2012 or October Term 2013 that we have not yet reported, please email us (subject line: “SCOTUS Clerk Hiring”). In order to check whether or not we’ve already reported a particular clerk hire for OT 2012 or OT 2013, please go back and review our last hiring report before contacting us.

In the meantime, we have a special gift for you. Last July, we shared with you the Supreme Court’s official list of law clerks for the October Term 2011 (i.e., the clerks currently toiling at One First Street). We noted at the time that “this list does not include law school and prior clerkship information, which the [Public Information Office] will release later this year.”

We now have that updated list of OT 2011 Supreme Court law clerks, featuring law school and prior clerkship data, courtesy of the Public Information Office. Let’s look at the list, and count up which law schools and feeder judges sent the most folks over to One First Street….

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This week we’re pretending that it’s not January by looking back at some of the biggest legal weddings of late 2011. There was a lot of muy prestigioso lawyer matrimony in the last part of the year. Before we delve into the January crop of weddings, which — let’s face it — is often subpar, here are some from the fall that we haven’t featured yet.

These are good ones, folks. Think Rhodes Scholars. Think SCOTUS clerks.

These are our finalists:

Lacey Schwartz and Antonio Delgado

Trisha Anderson and Charles Newman

Cate Edwards and Trevor Upham

Get the scoop on these couples, plus even more lawyer newlyweds, after the jump.

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Congratulations to the 2012 Bristow Fellows, who learned of their selection earlier this month. These one-year fellowships in the U.S. Solicitor General’s Office, awarded to recent law school graduates with outstanding academic records and top clerkships, are generally regarded as second only to Supreme Court clerkships in prestige (and often lead to SCOTUS clerkships as well). You can read more about the Bristow Fellowship, including the job responsibilities and application process, on the Justice Department website.

Let’s take a look at the next crop of Bristow Fellows. Which law schools did they graduate from, and for whom did they clerk?

Also: over the past three years, which law schools and judges have minted the most Bristow Fellows?

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* John Wilkes Booth. Lee Harvey Oswald. Oscar Ortega-Hernandez. Sorry, Oscar, you have three names, but you didn’t actually kill the president, so you don’t get to join the club. [New York Times]

* Former SCOTUS clerk Roy McLeese III has been nominated for a seat on the D.C. Court of Appeals. I don’t have an opinion on this yet because I can’t tell if he’s cute. [Blog of Legal Times]

* Do you really think that the .XXX domain is going to have any remarkable effect on the online porn industry? Besides more men with sticky keyboards and angry girlfriends, what’s the problem? [CNET]

* USC Law won’t be adding a tax LL.M. program. Because just dying is more advisable than adding additional debt to your name under the school’s debt solution plan. [National Law Journal]

* Wishing a very happy holiday season to you and yours with this top-of-the-line molotov snow globe. Hallmark: When You Care Enough to Send the Very Best. [New York Daily News]

If Learned Hand’s opinions are like the products of a bespoke tailor, the opinions coming out of the Ninth Circuit are like the products of a factory that is staffed by machines and menial workers who are overseen from afar by a handful of overworked managers.

– Justice Samuel Alito, in a recent speech at Rutgers School of Law (Newark), lamenting the decline of craftsmanship in judicial opinions.

(An interesting fact about Justice Alito and the Ninth Circuit, after the jump.)

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* “Rising tuition. Misleading employment statistics. Inadequate skills training.” So what are legal educators doing about it? Blogging, of course. [Law School Review]

* Trendspotting: cute judges the federal bench? The Senate has confirmed Loyola Law professor Stephen Higginson for a seat on the Fifth Circuit. [National Law Journal]

* People in New Jersey have morals. Who knew? When faced with aborting babies or aborting their careers, some nurses from UMDNJ decided to sue. [Washington Post]

* Elbert Lin is returning to Wiley Rein after a stint clerking for Clarence Thomas. We wonder what his wife would say about him if he was one of her LEWW contestants? [Blog of Legal Times]

* Another Real Housewife of New Jersey is facing legal troubles, but this time to the tune of $7.8M. Sorry Teresa, but at least Jacqueline Laurita’s got her hairline under control. [Huffington Post]

* Is Justin Bieber the father of a baby, baby, baby? That’s what a 20-year-old from California says, and she wants a paternity test to prove it. [New York Post]

Congratulations to the “Minority 40 Under 40.” This is a distinguished group of 40 minority lawyers, all under the age of 40, who have just been honored by the National Law Journal for their accomplishments within the legal profession.

Let’s learn more about them. Maybe you have friends or colleagues on the list?

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Professor Stephen Smith

Perhaps this is part of some elaborate research project into the workings of the criminal justice system. Professor Stephen F. Smith, who teaches criminal law and criminal procedure at Notre Dame Law School, stands accused of a serious crime.

According to the South Bend Tribune, Professor Smith faces one count of domestic battery, a class D felony. He’s accused of striking and kicking his wife at their home, in an incident that allegedly took place back in June.

Professor Smith doesn’t fit the profile of the typical defendant in a domestic violence case. How many DV defendants have clerked on the U.S. Supreme Court? How many have graduated from Dartmouth College, where Smith served as a trustee, and the University of Virginia School of Law, where he once taught?

After graduating from Dartmouth and UVA Law, Smith clerked on the D.C. Circuit (for Judge David Sentelle) and SCOTUS (for Justice Clarence Thomas). He practiced at Sidley Austin before joining the UVA Law faculty, where he served as John V. Ray Research Professor before moving to Notre Dame. (Query: What prompted Professor Smith to move from UVA to ND?)

Legal pedigrees don’t get much better than this. But enough of Professor Smith’s dazzling résumé. Let’s learn about the lurid allegations against him — and hear from ND law students about a campus controversy he created….

UPDATE: Please note the updates added to the end of this story. Thanks.

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