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Thursday round-up

Retired Justice Sandra Day O’Connor spoke yesterday in Des Moines to encourage Iowa to continue its merit-based approach to selecting judges. More than three hundred guests attended the panel discussion, which was motivated by a campaign to remove three Iowa Supreme Court judges who voted in favor of same-sex marriage. Grant Schulte of the Des Moines Register’s Crime & Courts Blog and the Associated Press (via the Omaha World-Herald) have coverage. In the USA Today, Joan Biskupic reports on O’Connor’s larger efforts to “balance[] multiple roles as she tries to influence public debate,” especially with regard to judicial elections.

Justice Antonin Scalia spoke yesterday at the dedication of a new building at Marquette University Law School. As Ben Poston of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and the Associated Press (via the LaCrosse Tribune) report, Justice Scalia encouraged faculty to focus on teaching rather than publishing and encouraged students to take “a broad range of courses” to prepare them for legal practice.

Adam Liptak’s New York Times piece (originally covered in Tuesday’s round-up) about the polarization of Supreme Court law clerks continues to generate discussion in the blogosphere. At Bench Memos, Ed Whelan seconds the suggestion by Orin Kerr of the Volokh Conspiracy that “ideological hiring by the justices is a solution to a problem.”  Meanwhile, at the Full Disclosure blog of Forbes, Daniel Fisher agrees with Balkinization’s Jason Mazzone that “Liptak ignores the historic shift in the federal judiciary between 1975 and the present,” while at PrawfsBlawg, Paul Horowitz challenges Mazzone’s suggestion that law clerks should be “faithful lieutenants.”  (Adam covered both Kerr’s and Mazzone’s pieces in yesterday’s round-up.)


  • At Bench Memos, Matthew Franck criticizes a 2009 lecture by Justice Breyer about Dred Scott that appeared in the Journal of Supreme Court History in July.
  • At the National Law Journal, Marie Gryphon argues that “[t]he Court’s decisions during this past year undermine the common claim that its Republican appointees decide criminal cases based on the identity of the parties rather than the content of the law.”
  • At the DealBook blog of the New York Times, Peter Lattman identifies several former Supreme Court clerks who have made their way to Wall Street.