On Becoming a Supreme Court Clerk

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This article about David Bragdon, who was just hired to clerk for Justice Thomas, is worth reading, especially for those who miss their A3G fix. Bragdon is significantly more forthcoming in print than I would have expected. Two choice quotes:

“I think conservative justices are more likely to hire conservative clerks,” he said. “I interviewed with Justice Thomas and his clerks, and his clerks really drilled me on my judicial philosophy, both to see how much I knew and to test my ability to argue various issues.”

“There could be some shifts in the way the Supreme Court decides certain issues [based on the new justices coming to the court],” he said. “I don’t think Roe vs. Wade will be overturned, there aren’t enough votes to change that decision, but other key issues could be affected.”

Too bad the interviewer didn’t ask the obvious follow-up question: which “key issues” does this rising Supreme Court clerk think will be affected by the confirmation of Justice Roberts and the possible confirmation of Judge Alito?

(Hat Tip: Howard B.)

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7 Responses

  1. Blue Room says:

    “Too bad the interviewer didn’t ask the obvious follow-up question: which ‘key issues’ does this rising Supreme Court clerk think will be affected by the confirmation of Justice Roberts and the possible confirmation of Judge Alito?”

    It’s not like he would have any idea; he probably spent about an hour and half in the building and only met with Thomas and his clerks.

  2. John Armstrong says:

    This may be picking a nit, but is Mr. Bragdon (or possibly the reporter) sure he wasn’t “grilled”? For him to be drilled implies that he was being taught the subject in question rather than being tested on it.

    Actually, it’s not just pedantry. If this is the reporter’s error I don’t mind so much. However, if this is a SCOTUS clerk making the error, will similar errors in word-choice end up altering the fine points of a decision somewhere in the future?

  3. scotus watcher says:

    A more charitable reading of the quote: conservative justices, more than most, must test whether freshly minted law students believe that left of center jurisprudence is the sum total of jurisprudence.

  4. SCOTUSblog says:

    Blog Round-Up – Friday, December 1st

    In nomination news: Here is the 64 page questionnaire Judge Alito submitted to the Senate Judiciary Committee. Sentencing Law & Policy responds to the sentencing issues in the questionnaire here. On FindLaw, Rick Hasen has this post titled, “One Person…

  5. SCOTUSblog says:

    Blog Round-Up – Friday, December 1st

    In nomination news: Here is the 64 page questionnaire Judge Alito submitted to the Senate Judiciary Committee. Sentencing Law & Policy responds to the sentencing issues in the questionnaire here. On FindLaw, Rick Hasen has this post titled, “One Person…

  6. SCOTUSblog says:

    Blog Round-Up – Thursday, December 1st

    In nomination news: Here is the 64 page questionnaire Judge Alito submitted to the Senate Judiciary Committee. Sentencing Law & Policy responds to the sentencing issues in the questionnaire here. On FindLaw, Rick Hasen has this post titled, “One Person…

  7. TO says:

    As smart as Supreme Court clerks often are, I suspect that Mr. Bragdon used the word in the “grilled” sense.

    I think he just meant intense questioning, and preferred the image of a sharp motorized rotary tool to the image of a heated piece of metal.

    Though if he’d said “roasted” I would imagine Thomas and his clerks ridiculing him with jokes that had a conservative legal bent to them. “David Bragdon believes sooooo much in substantive due process….”