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Another thought on the Alito hirings

Another thought about the controversy. There has been ideological screening of clerks for at least twenty years. We just somehow never hear about the justices on the left who have been subjecting their clerk applicants to stringent ideological litmus tests. At least Scalia hires a liberal once every two or three years, but a Federalist Society member has no chance at a Stevens clerkship—the only reason to apply for one in recent years was because O'Connor was rumored to insist that all her applicants apply to all of the justices.

I strongly suspect the Rehnquist Court's bias towards cases divining minor nuances of criminal procedure while disregarding tremendously important business and civil procedure cases stems from the fact that cert petitions have been reviewed by only two or three clerks from the entire Court, the vast majority of whom have had next to no experience in real-life litigation. Having clerks that have sullied their hands doing document production or dealing with real clients' real legal issues can only benefit the nation's laws.

Disclosure: I practiced with Adam Ciongoli for a year after his first clerkship at Kirkland & Ellis, and think he deserves a Supreme Court clerkship as much as anyone.



Rafael Mangual
Project Manager,
Legal Policy

Katherine Lazarski
Manhattan Institute


Published by the Manhattan Institute

The Manhattan Insitute's Center for Legal Policy.