Law Prof: It's Time for Hard Labor at the US Supreme Court

Just happened to come across this article.

If you wanted to reform the Supreme Court and probably reduce average tenure considerably, reduce or eliminate their law clerks.

This would eliminate the cert pool, forcing Justices to read and consider each and every petition themselves. It would also force them to do the dirty work of writing and citing their own ■■■■■■■ opinions.

The increased grind would make it far more likely that older Justices would leave the court earlier, unable to keep up with the sheer workload at a certain point.

The Supreme Court could have been rid of Justice Douglas as much as four or five years earlier. Both Marshall and Blackmun would have been gone at least two years earlier.

Law clerks have strong institutional pressure to mark Petitions as DECLINE when they present their memo to the Justices. Much of the reason why the Supreme Court’s output has declined to so low over the last few decades.

The process of selecting law clerks and the whole law clerk pipeline is rife with favoritism and abuse.

And as the author points out, eliminating law clerks would force the Justices to interact with each other directly on a much more frequent basis, which would improve collegiality and reduce sharp divides.

It would also keep opinions shorter and to the point.


sometimes the justices surprise us, probably be less of that too as they’d rely more on ideology than research.

I like it. Probably get rid of some of that hubris as well.

Eliminating the “clerked for” so and so USSCJ from a future consideration. As if that’s a reason to move your entitled ass to the front of the line.

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