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Ex-clerk gets an assignment

The Supreme Court has chosen an Austin, Texas, lawyer, who formerly clerked for Justice Antonin Scalia, to argue in place of the Justice Department in a newly granted case on federal criminal sentencing.   Baker Botts associate Evan A. Young will defend  a Fifth Circuit Court decision that the federal government no longer supports.  Young will brief and argue in support of the Fifth Circuit’s ruling that a federal judge has the authority to set a federal sentence to run consecutively to a state sentence not yet imposed.  That is the issue the Court granted on Monday in Setser v. U.S. (docket 10-7387).  It will be decided at the Court’s next Term.

It is customary for the Court to name a substitute counsel to argue as amicus when one side in a case it has granted has given up the defense of a position, in order to have both sides fully presented.  It is also quite common for the Court, in naming such substitute advocates, to choose lawyers who have formerly served as Supreme Court clerks.

Young, after clerking for Scalia, served as a lawyer on the personal staffs of two former Attorneys General in the George W. Bush Administration, Alberto Gonzales and Michael Mukasey.  He later was sent to Iraq to help advise the new government there on creation of its court system.  After that, he joined the Baker Botts firm in its Austin office.

Recommended Citation: Lyle Denniston, Ex-clerk gets an assignment, SCOTUSblog (Jun. 15, 2011, 4:16 PM),