SCHS: Educational Resources — Rosette Detail

How The Court Works — Law Clerks

Caption: Senior law clerk Bennett Boskey drove Chief Justice Harlan Fiske Stone and second law clerk Roger Nelson to Court on the first day of October Term 1941 [Courtesy of Bennett Boskey]

As drafting begins, the law clerks intensify their research of pertinent material. They work very hard, Chief Justice Rehnquist once remarked, and after an arduous 12-month stint “are glad to go onto something else in the profession.” They come to the Court as top graduates of law schools, alert to current research and thinking there. Appointment as a clerk carries great honor.

Justice Breyer’s first service at the Court was as clerk to the late Justice Arthur Goldberg. Justice Kagan was clerk to the late Justice Thurgood Marshall. Today each Justice is entitled to four clerks, two secretaries and a messenger, with the Chief Justice authorized an additional secretary.