Bar News - September 22, 2006
Notes from a Messy Desk - U.S. Supreme Court Edition
By: Dan Wise, Editor
Souter and his Benchmate
We recently came across an informative and well-designed Web site that’s devoted to educating a general audience about the U.S. Supreme Court – and it does so with personality and humor, to boot!
Check out www.oyez.org. The last paragraph of a Souter biography provides insight into our own Justice David Souter’s relationship with his “neighbor” on the bench, Justice Antonin Scalia.
“Souter’s engaging personality explains his quick friendship with fellow justices. As one of the few people unoffended by Scalia’s verbal argumentation style, Souter has become a good friend with the conservative justice despite the fact that they often clash on controversial issues.”
Justices’ Travel Reported
Recent financial disclosure forms from members of the federal judiciary contained reports on expense-paid trips for teaching and for international exchange meetings. Justice David H. Souter reported no paid trips anywhere in 2005, while Thomas and John Paul Stevens reported no paid foreign trips.
At the other extreme, Antonin Scalia, whom the Washington Post labeled a “leading opponent of drawing on foreign law” to interpret the Constitution, was nevertheless the High Court’s top frequent flier. In 2005, he reported 24 expense-paid trips, including foreign trips to Ireland, Turkey, Australia and Italy. Kennedy was the next most active traveler, with 15 paid trips within the United States and abroad—including a month-long stay in Austria in July. Stephen G. Breyer also traveled 14 times at others’ expense.
Washington Post, Sept. 5, 2006.
Women Clerks Scarce
Although nearly 50 percent of law school graduates each year are women, women accounted for only seven of the 37 law clerks hired at the U.S. Supreme Court for this year’s term.
Last year, there were 14 female law clerks at the start of the term, with an additional female law clerk joining the ranks by year’s end with the appointment of Samuel Alito.
For many years, more than a third of the clerks at the High Court were women, The New York Times said. In an interview with NY Times reporter Linda Greenhouse, Souter, who had no women among his four clerks hired this year, suggested that the drop in law clerks was simply a random variation in the applicant pool.
The New York Times, Aug. 30, 2006.
Returning to our newest favorite site, www.oyez.com, be sure to check out the nifty feature accompanying all of the biographical entries –an irresistible (for some of us, at least) link labeled “Baseball.”
Click on the link and the user is confronted with the question: “Can you select the baseball player most like David Souter?” The choices are: Lou Whitaker, Bret Boone, Fred McGriff or Jim Abbott.
The answer? Read the next issue of Bar News.