Legal Law

Supreme Court docket Clerk Hiring Watch: A Time period Like No Different

At the U.S. Supreme Court (photo by David Lat).

Well that was weird, wasn’t it?

The Supreme Court Term that just concluded, October Term 2019, was one of the most unusual terms ever — and certainly the most unusual in the 15-plus years that I’ve been writing about the Court. I like how Professor Josh Blackman put it, speaking with David French and Sarah Isgur of the (excellent) Advisory Opinions podcast:

My friend Chris Walker is right (in describing OT 2020 as “such an unusual and important Term”). This is a Term unlike any other. We had an impeachment, we had a COVID epidemic, and we had the Chief Justice rise to become the deciding factor.

The COVID-19 epidemic was especially consequential for the Court. As longtime watchers know, the Court is an institution committed to tradition — but COVID-19 caused the Court to, well, adopt new traditions. Most notably, the Court held remote oral arguments, conducted telephonically, and livestreamed the proceedings. I viewed the Court’s new approach to oral argument and livestreaming as quite successful (stray toilet flushes notwithstanding), and I hope SCOTUS preserves some elements of it in the post-pandemic era.

COVID-19 also changed the SCOTUS clerkship experience — and probably not for the better. As former Supreme Court clerk Tobi Young told Tony Mauro, in an interesting interview about her experience as the first Native American SCOTUS clerk:

I’ve tried to put myself in the shoes of this year’s clerks. I would not have enjoyed doing the work entirely remotely, never seeing my teammates and the justice and colleagues from other chambers. I bet most clerks willingly would have brought sleeping bags and quarantined at the court to preserve the unique experience and collaboration. Missing out on performing the ritual skit for the justices must be a lot like a high school senior missing prom! Yet the work must get done, and they’re getting it done, as the release of opinions illustrates each week.

It took a little longer to get the work done, with the term running past the July 4 holiday for the first time since 1986. But given the challenges of trying to go about their work remotely, in the midst of a global pandemic, I must commend the justices and the OT 2019 clerks for getting it all done in the end.

Clerking in the 2019-20 Term might have been more difficult and less fun than usual, at least in some respects. But SCOTUS clerkships, like diamonds, are forever — and so even if the clerkship experience wasn’t quite the same, the clerks will still enjoy the lifelong prestige of being members of The Elect (and those $400,000 signing bonuses).

Which brings us to what you’ve come here for: the complete roster of Supreme Court law clerks for October Term 2020. Although OT 2020 won’t officially start (presumably remotely) until the first Monday in October, the new clerks are already “arriving” and starting their work (also remotely).

Now, if you who follow @SCOTUSambitions on Twitter — originally the feed for my novel of the same name, now converted to a clearinghouse for SCOTUS clerk hiring news — you’ve already seen these hires. If you’re looking for SCOTUS clerk hiring news in real time (or at least something closer to real time — I tweet hires as soon as I learn about them, which is sometimes well after the fact, and after I’ve verified them) — please follow @SCOTUSambitions.

But it’s nice to have all the hires in one place. And at least for the October Term 2020 clerks, please note that this is the official roster, duly verified by the Court’s Public Information Office (for which I thank the PIO).

In a future post, which you can think of as a “Part II” for my report on the OT 2020 clerk class, I will provide my usual color commentary and demographic analysis. This will include analysis of top law schools for producing SCOTUS clerks, top feeder judges, and gender breakdown of the clerk class.

I will also offer a special profile of the last OT 2020 clerk whose hiring I heard about, Amy Upshaw (Chicago 2016/Sykes), Above the Law’s own version of Mr. Irrelevant. If you have fun tidbits to share about Amy, please reach out to me using the contact info provided below. (To get an idea of what I’m looking for — good clean fun, nothing scandalous — please see my last Mr. Irrelevant profile, starring Joe Masterman.)

So, without further delay, here are the SCOTUS clerk lists for OT 2020 and OT 2021, plus a few hires for OT 2022 (not yet in list form, but I’ll put them in list form once I have a critical mass). As mentioned, the OT 2020 clerk roster has been officially confirmed by the Public Information Office, but the OT 2021 and OT 2022 hires have not been so verified.

I don’t report a hire until I have confirmed it on good authority, but occasionally I do make mistakes (e.g., a typo in a name, an incorrect graduation year, or the wrong feeder judge). So if you have any corrections to this information, or if you have any hiring news I have not yet reported, please reach out by email or text (917-397-2751). Please include the words “SCOTUS Clerk Hiring” in your email or text message, perhaps as the subject line of your email or the first words of your text, because that’s how I locate these tips in my overwhelmed inbox. Thanks!

P.S. Speaking of corrections — please note the correction to my last SCOTUS clerk hiring round-up regarding the first child of two SCOTUS clerks to become a SCOTUS clerk himself. As pointed out in this (fascinating) article by Tony Mauro, When Supreme Court Clerkships Become a Family Tradition, that honor appears to belong to Jonathan Meltzer (OT 2015/Kagan), son of the late Dan Meltzer (OT 1976/Stewart) and Ellen Semenoff (OT 1976/Marshall) — not Joshua Revesz (OT 2020/Kagan), son of Ricky Revesz (OT 1984/Marshall) and Vicki Been (OT 1984/Blackmun).

OCTOBER TERM 2020 SUPREME COURT CLERK HIRES (as of July 21, 2020)

Chief Justice John G. Roberts
1. Leslie Arffa (Yale 2018/Livingston/Boasberg (D.D.C.))
2. Patrick Fuster (Chicago 2018/Watford/Chhabria (N.D. Cal.))
3. Benjamin Gifford (Harvard 2017/Rakoff (S.D.N.Y.) /Katzmann)
4. Stephen Hammer (Harvard 2018/Sutton/Katsas)

Justice Clarence Thomas
1. Philip Cooper (Chicago 2017/W. Pryor/Stras)
2. Joshua Divine (Yale 2016/W. Pryor)
3. Jack Millman (NYU 2016/O’Scannlain/E. Carnes)
4. Amy Upshaw (Chicago 2016/Sykes)

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg
1. Jack Boeglin (Yale 2016/Srinivasan/Calabresi)
2. Thaddeus Eagles (NYU 2015/Rakoff (S.D.N.Y.)/Katzmann)
3. Eliza Lehner (Yale 2017/Watford/Furman (S.D.N.Y.))
4. David Louk (Yale 2015/Boasberg (D.D.C.)/Katzmann)
5. Brittany Jones Record (Stanford 2016/Sutton/Millett)

Note: as I mentioned previously at @SCOTUSambitions, Thad Eagles was originally hired by Justice John Paul Stevens, before Justice Stevens passed away. But as is its custom when a justice passes, the Court has found a new chambers for Thad; he will be clerking for Justice Ginsburg (and is listed on the PIO’s official roster as a fifth Ginsburg clerk, not a Stevens clerk).

Justice Stephen G. Breyer
1. Emily Barnet (Yale 2015/Rakoff (S.D.N.Y.)/Katzmann)
2. Diana Li Kim (Yale 2017/Hall (D. Conn.)/Calabresi)
3. Arjun Ramamurti (Yale 2018/Garland/Pillard)
4. Daniel Richardson (UVA 2018/Wilkinson/Bristow)

Justice Samuel Alito
1. Taylor Hoogendorn (Yale 2018/Wilkinson/Katsas)
2. Mary Miller (U. Michigan 2016/Owen/Leon (D.D.C.))
3. Maria Monaghan (UVA 2017/Thapar/E. Carnes)
4. David Phillips (Harvard 2018/Colloton/Silberman)

Justice Sonia Sotomayor
1. Greg Cui (Yale 2017/Fletcher/Furman (S.D.N.Y.))
2. Kristen Loveland (NYU 2016/Furman (S.D.N.Y.)/Lohier)
3. Imelme Umana (Harvard 2018/Wilkins)
4. Sarah Weiner (Yale 2017/Tatel/Oetken (S.D.N.Y.))

Justice Elena Kagan
1. Peter Davis (Stanford 2017/Srinivasan/Boasberg (D.D.C.))
2. Madeleine Joseph (Harvard 2018/S. Lynch/Howell (D.D.C.))
3. Isaac Park (Harvard 2018/Srinivasan/Oetken (S.D.N.Y.)
4. Joshua Revesz (Yale 2017/Garland)

Justice Neil M. Gorsuch
1. James Burnham (U. Chicago 2009/Kozinski)
2. Trevor Ezell (Stanford 2017/Sutton/Oldham)
3. Krista Perry (U. Chicago 2016/W. Pryor/Kennedy)
4. John Ramer (Michigan 2017/Kethledge/Bristow)

Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh
1. Harry Graver (Harvard 2019/Wilkinson)
2. Tyler Infinger (NYU 2016/Rao)
3. Zoe Jacoby (Yale 2019/Barrett)
4. Megan McGlynn (Yale 2017/W. Pryor/Friedrich (D.D.C.))

Justice Anthony M. Kennedy (retired):
1. Ben Wallace (Yale 2016/Kethledge/Srinivasan)

Note: as reflected in the PIO’s official clerk roster, retired Justice David H. Souter did not hire a clerk for OT 2020 — and presumably won’t be hiring clerks for future terms as well.

OCTOBER TERM 2021 SUPREME COURT CLERK HIRES (as of July 21, 2020)

Chief Justice John G. Roberts
1. Maxwell Gottschall (Harvard 2019/Srinivasan/Boasberg (D.D.C.))
2. ?
3. ?
4. ?

Justice Clarence Thomas
1. Christopher Goodnow (Harvard 2017/Sykes/Katsas)
2. Manuel Valle (U. Chicago 2017/E. Jones/Larsen)
3. ?
4. ?

Hired by Justice Thomas for OT 2022: Bijan Aboutarabi (U. Chicago 2018/W. Pryor/Thapar).

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg
1. ?
2. ?
3. ?
4. ?

Justice Stephen G. Breyer
1. Elizabeth Deutsch (Yale 2016/Pillard/Oetken (S.D.N.Y.))
2. ?
3. ?
4. ?

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

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

Justice Elena Kagan
1. Andra Lim (Stanford 2019/Friedland)
2. ?
3. ?
4. ?

Justice Neil M. Gorsuch

1. Stephanie Barclay (BYU 2011/N.R. Smith)
2. Louis Capozzi (Penn 2019/Scirica/Wilkinson)
3. Mark Storslee (Stanford 2015 / O’Scannlain)
4. ?

Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh

1. Alexa Baltes (Notre Dame 2017/Gruender/Barrett)
2. Athie Livas (Yale 2019/Thapar/Friedrich (D.D.C.))
3. Jenna Pavelec (Yale 2017/Thapar/Kethledge)
4. Sarah Welch (Chicago 2019/Sutton/W. Pryor)

Hired by Justice Kavanaugh for October Term 2022: Thomas Hopson (Yale 2020/Katsas/Friedrich (D.D.C.)), Cameron Pritchett (Harvard 2018/Edwards/Gallager (D. Md.)), and David Steinbach (Stanford 2019/Boasberg (D.D.C.)/Srinivasan).

Justice Anthony M. Kennedy (retired):
1. ?

Once again, do you know about a hire not previously reported, or do you have an addition or correction to any of this info? Please share what you know by email or text (917-397-2751). Please include the words “SCOTUS Clerk Hiring” in your email or text message, as the subject line of your email or the first words of your text, because that’s how I locate these tips in my inundated inbox. Thanks!

Earlier:

Supreme Court Clerk Hiring Watch: The Return Of The Tiger Cub
Supreme Court Clerk Hiring Watch: Justice Kavanaugh’s History-Making Class Of Clerks
Supreme Court Clerk Hiring Watch: The Complete Clerk Roster For October Term 2018

David Lat, the founding editor of Above the Law, is a writer, speaker, and legal recruiter at Lateral Link, where he is a managing director in the New York office. David’s book, Supreme Ambitions: A Novel (2014), was described by the New York Times as “the most buzzed-about novel of the year” among legal elites. David previously worked as a federal prosecutor, a litigation associate at Wachtell Lipton, and a law clerk to Judge Diarmuid F. O’Scannlain of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. You can connect with David on Twitter (@DavidLat), LinkedIn, and Facebook, and you can reach him by email at [email protected]

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