The Influence of Personalized Knowledge at the Supreme Court: How (Some) Former Law Clerks Have the Inside Track

Ryan C. Black & Ryan J. Owens
When arguing at the U.S. Supreme Court, former High Court law clerks enjoy significant influence over their former justices. Our analysis of forty years of judicial votes reveals that an attorney who formerly clerked for a justice is 16 percent more likely to capture that justice’s vote than an otherwise identical attorney who never clerked. What is more, an attorney who formerly clerked for a justice is 14 to 16 percent more likely to capture...
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