U.S. Supreme Court
The law clerks for Justice Neil M. Gorsuch have their work cut out for them.
Gorsuch will not be joining the so-called cert pool, in which justices pool law clerks to review cert petitions and recommend whether they should be granted, the New York Times reports. Gorsuch joins Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr., the only other current justice who refuses to participate.
Each clerk in the pool is assigned cert petitions to review and make recommendations on whether the court should accept the cases. The recommendations are circulated to each justice in the pool.
According to the Times, clerks for justices who don’t participate in the pool review all of the cert petitions filed each year—about 7,000 in all. Gorsuch’s decision is an early sign of his “independence and work ethic,” the article says.
Some have suggested that law clerks in the cert pool are reluctant to recommend a cert grant because they don’t want to appear foolish if a case is later dismissed as improvidently granted.
A 2007 study found the percentage of cert recommendations by the pool has declined as more justices participated. Some commentators believe the cert pool has contributed to the drop in the number of cases heard each year by the court.