Supreme Court Clerk Hiring Watch: The Complete Clerk Roster For October Term 2020

With Justice Barrett's first set of clerks, plus the destinations of the late Justice Ginsburg's clerks.

A clerk walking the halls of the U.S. Supreme Court (photo by David Lat). Fun fact: this clerk now holds a Senate-confirmed role in the federal government.

Welcome to Original Jurisdiction, a new publication by me, David Lat. You can learn more about Original Jurisdiction by reading its About page, you can reach me by email at davidlat@substack.com, and you can register to receive updates on this signup page.

Congratulations to the nine members of the U.S. Supreme Court, who could receive Covid-19 vaccinations as early as this week. And it makes sense that keeping the justices safe and healthy is a high priority. As we recently saw with the passing of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the loss of a justice can be very disruptive for both the Court and the country. (Whether other federal judges also get priority for vaccination remains to be seen.)

After the justices get vaccinated, will some or all of them return to Court? Could we see the end of telephonic arguments and a return to in-person sessions? And will the justices’ clerks have the clerkship experience that many of them expected, getting to work in close physical proximity to their bosses on a regular basis? We shall see.

This brings us to today’s topic: the October Term 2020 class of Supreme Court law clerks. A big thanks to the Court’s Public Information Office for sharing with me the final, complete roster of OT 2020 clerks. I can now present to you an official list of hires, as confirmed by the Court itself.

And we now know the fate of Justice Ginsburg’s final set of clerks. As I previously reported, two are with Justice Sonia Sotomayor for the rest of OT 2020 (Jack Boeglin and Thad Eagles). But I can now also report that two are with Justice Stephen G. Breyer (David Louk and Brittany Jones Record), and one is with Justice Elena Kagan (Eliza Lehner). So this Term, the liberal justices have a surplus of clerkly talent: Justice Breyer and Justice Sotomayor have a whopping six clerks each and Justice Kagan has five, while the conservative justices have the standard four clerks each.

Finally, having an official roster of OT 2020 law clerks means that I can analyze the demographics of the complete clerk class (superseding my earlier demographic analysis of the clerk class). So let’s jump right in.

1. Gender. The final clerk class has 42 clerks: four clerks to each of the nine active justices, plus Justice Ginsburg’s five displaced clerks, plus one clerk to retired Justice Kennedy (36 + 5 + 1 = 42). Of the 42 clerks, 24 are men and 18 are women, making for a class that’s 57 percent male and 43 percent female.

For comparison, here are the gender breakdowns for the last few classes of clerks:

OT 2019: 59 percent male, 41 percent female.

OT 2018: 51 percent female, 49 percent male (this is the first Term in SCOTUS history where a majority of clerks have been women, as well as the Term that Justice Brett Kavanaugh had an all-female clerk contingent, also a first at the Court).

OT 2017: 64 percent male, 36 percent female.

OT 2016: 58 percent male, 42 percent female.

So this Term’s gender breakdown is roughly in line with the past few years — and it’s definitely more balanced than clerk classes from the more distant past. As noted by Tony Mauro, from 2005 to 2017, twice as many men as women were hired as SCOTUS clerks (i.e., roughly a 67 percent male, 33 percent female breakdown).

2. Feeder schools. Thanks to Justice Barrett, a Notre Dame Law graduate herself, the ranks of feeder schools are a bit more diverse. Before she hired her clerks, the 38 SCOTUS clerks for OT 2020 came from just seven schools, all of them among the top 14 aka “T14” schools. With the addition of her clerks — two U. Chicago grads, a Northwestern grad, and a GW Law grad — two more schools were added to the mix, including one not among the T14 (GW, currently #23). Here’s the full breakdown of the nine feeder schools this Term:

  • Yale (15)

  • Harvard (7)

  • Chicago (7)

  • NYU (4)

  • Stanford (3)

  • UVA (2)

  • Michigan (2)

  • George Washington (1)

  • Northwestern (1)

Yale and Harvard are the perennial top two schools for producing SCOTUS clerks. But as a result of Justice Barrett hiring no Harvard or Yale grads and two Chicago grads, Chicago pulls into a tie with Harvard for second place this Term. Congrats, Chicago!

3. Feeder judges. In my original demographic analysis, 39 different lower-court judges sent clerks to One First Street, compared to 47 judges for OT 2019. With the addition of the Barrett clerks, the number goes to 40, with the addition of Judge Paul K. Kelly (10th Cir.).

There are a few other changes as well. Congratulations to Chief Judge William H. Pryor (11th Cir.) on becoming the #1 feeder judge, pulling ahead of Chief Judge Sri Srinivasan (D.C. Cir.) and Judge Robert Katzmann (2d Cir.). And three new judges get added to the list of lower-court judges with more than one clerk at the Court for OT 2020: then-Judge Barrett (from her time on the Seventh Circuit), then-Judge Kavanaugh (from his time on the D.C. Circuit), and Judge Richard J. Leon (D.D.C.).

Here’s the full list of lower-court feeder judges with more than one clerk at the Court for OT 2020, with the number of clerks noted parenthetically:

  • W. Pryor (5)

  • Katzmann (4)

  • Srinivasan (4)

  • Sutton (3)

  • Wilkinson (3)

  • Boasberg (D.D.C.) (3)

  • Rakoff (S.D.N.Y.) (3)

  • Furman (S.D.N.Y.) (3)

  • Barrett (2)

  • Calabresi (2)

  • E. Carnes (2)

  • Garland (2)

  • Kavanaugh (2)

  • Katsas (2)

  • Kethledge (2)

  • Watford (2)

  • Leon (D.D.C.) (2)

  • Oetken (S.D.N.Y.) (2)

The complete list of October Term 2020 Supreme Court clerks, officially confirmed with the Court itself, appears below. I have also included the hiring information I currently have for future Terms.

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 (davidlat@substack.com) 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!

OCTOBER TERM 2020 SUPREME COURT CLERK HIRES
(as of December 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 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. David Louk (Yale 2015/Boasberg (D.D.C.)/Katzmann)
4. Arjun Ramamurti (Yale 2018/Garland/Pillard)
5. Brittany Jones Record (Stanford 2016/Sutton/Millett)
6. 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. Jack Boeglin (Yale 2016/Srinivasan/Calabresi)
2. Greg Cui (Yale 2017/Fletcher/Furman (S.D.N.Y.))
3. Thaddeus Eagles (NYU 2015/Rakoff (S.D.N.Y.)/Katzmann)
4. Kristen Loveland (NYU 2016/Furman (S.D.N.Y.)/Lohier)
5. Imelme Umana (Harvard 2018/Wilkins)
6. 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. Eliza Lehner (Yale 2017/Watford/Furman (S.D.N.Y.))
4. Isaac Park (Harvard 2018/Srinivasan/Oetken (S.D.N.Y.)
5. 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 Amy Coney Barrett
1. Brendan Duffy (Northwestern 2017 / P. Kelly / Barrett)
2. Nick Harper (Chicago 2015 / Kavanaugh / A. Kennedy)
3. Whitney Hermandorfer (GW Law 2015 / Kavanaugh / Leon (D.D.C.) / Alito)
4. Madeline Lansky (Chicago 2016 / W. Pryor / Thomas)

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

OCTOBER TERM 2021 SUPREME COURT CLERK HIRES
(as of December 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 Aboutorabi (U. Chicago 2018/W. Pryor/Thapar).

Justice Stephen G. Breyer
1. Elizabeth Deutsch (Yale 2016/Pillard/Oetken (S.D.N.Y.))
2. Joel Wacks (U. Chicago 2018/McKeown/C. Breyer (N.D. Cal.))
3. ?
4. ?

[UPDATE (1/23/21, 12:30 p.m.): I tweeted out the hiring of Joel Wacks back in October 2020, but somehow forgot to include him here; I have now added him.]

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).

Hired by Justice Kavanaugh for October Term 2023: Nicholaus Mills (Cornell 2019/Willett/Kovner (E.D.N.Y.)) and Avery Rasmussen (UVA 2021/Wilkinson/Friedrich (D.D.C.)).

Justice Amy Coney Barrett
1. ?
2. ?
3. ?
4. ?

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 (davidlat@substack.com) 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!


Thanks for reading Original Jurisdiction, a new publication by me, David Lat. You can learn more about Original Jurisdiction on its About page, you can reach me by email at davidlat@substack.com, and you can share this post or subscribe to Original Jurisdiction using the buttons below.

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