April 30, 2009

Souter Still Hasn't Hired Law Clerks for Fall Term

Does this mean that he is going to retire at the end of this term?  Souter is often late to hire, but this is really late even for him.  The AP provides some alternatives:

"The justice always has been the last to hire, Ward said, because he likes to gauge how people do as clerks for lower federal court judges. Yet other justices are hiring earlier and earlier. Some even have made offers to lawyers for the middle of 2010.

'So it may very well be that Souter is waiting longer out of frustration with the process,' Ward said.

Also possible is that Souter has not finished his hiring, but has sworn the others to secrecy until he's done. This is the Supreme Court, after all, which has resisted cameras and other intrusions.

Less likely, but not inconceivable is that the rough economy is affecting even the top of the legal profession and that Souter's current crop of clerks will be around for another term. Or another justice will leave this summer and Souter already has agreed to employ his colleague's clerks."

Speculation about a Justice's retirement is always tricky, but Souter seems to be sending some very strong signals that he will be stepping down at the end of the current term.

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