Marquette Law School recently hosted the first academic symposium devoted to the role of the law clerk, with a particular focus on the U.S. Supreme Court. Most of the contributors indicated that law clerks exercise significant influence over all aspects of the Court’s work, from the grant of certiorari petitions to the questions asked at oral argument and the Court’s decision. Participants also studied the Court’s hiring practices over the years, as well as the career trajectories of former Supreme Court clerks. For those curious about this under-studied institution, the Marquette symposium is a treasure trove of data and anslysis.
The symposium was organized by Chad Oldfather and Todd Peppers, both scholars of the federal judiciary. In their introduction, Oldfather and Peppers note that law clerks have played an important role ever since Supreme Court Justice Horace Gray hired the first