May 2, 2017

Neil Gorsuch bucks convention on Supreme Court clerk pool

Carolyn Kaster / AP

Justice Neil Gorsuch is opting out of the pool of clerks that Supreme Court justices share to help them determine which cases to take on.

The pool divides up the labor of sifting through about 7,000 petitions amongst law clerks. Gorsuch's own clerks will review all the petitions independently of the pool.

Why it matters: Gorsuch is showing an "early sign of independence and work ethic," per the NYT's Adam Liptak.

  • However, Gorsuch will be sacrificing some efficiency — a risk he is probably well aware of as he was part of the pool when he clerked for justices Byron White and Anthony Kennedy.

This is a rare move: The pool system began in the 1970s and, according to former Justice John Paul Stevens, has led the court to hear fewer cases. Samuel Alito is the only other justice who does not currently participate.

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