April 07, 2006

Alito Jumps into the Pool

Tony Mauro is reporting over at the Legal Times that Justice Alito has decided to join the somewhat controversial case-pooling arrangement in which incoming certs are divided amongst the clerks so that one clerk produces a memorandum on each case which is then shared with all the justices in the pool. Currently, Justice Stevens is the only member of SCOTUS who has decided to stay out of the pool. Chief Justice Roberts has already announced he'll join, though as an appellate lawyer in in the late '90's he voiced some concern with the practice. The article notes that this was something Alito was asked about at the hearing in January:

"Alito was noncommittal when he was asked about the cert pool at his confirmation hearing in January, though he said he was 'aware of the issue' and would talk to other justices about it once confirmed. 'I know from my perspective as a lower court judge that there is a constant conflict between the obligation that we have to deal with a very heavy case load and the need for the judge, as opposed to a law clerk or a staff employee of the court, to deal with the cases,' Alito said at the Jan. 10 hearing. 'We cannot delegate our judicial responsibility. But we do need to call on -- we need to find ways, and we do find ways, of obtaining assistance from clerks and staff, employees so that we can deal with the large case load that we have.'"