Ginsburg, Kennedy hire law clerks for future Supreme Court terms


Supreme Court Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Anthony Kennedy have already hired multiple law clerks for future terms, sending strong signals they’re not going anywhere anytime soon.

Ginsburg, affectionately known by her fans as the “Notorious RBG,” has already hired four clerks for the October 2018 term and four clerks for the October 2019 term, which ends in June 2020, according to CNN. The news hints that Ginsburg is planning to stay on for the coinciding terms.


Meanwhile, Kennedy’s recent law clerk hires are also telling.

According to Above the Law, which first reported the law clerk news, he’s selected four clerks for the October 2018 term. The news may signal the court’s usual swing vote isn’t planning to retire at the end of the current term as rumored.

Sam Erman, an associate professor of law at the University of Southern California Gould School of Law, who clerked for Justice John Paul Stevens and then Kennedy, said it’s not uncommon for the justices to hire their law clerks for future terms this far in advance.

Erman also noted that retired justices are each allowed one law clerk.

“When they go to two, it’s a strong signal they are going to be on bench that term,” he said.

However, justices are allowed to hire who they want and the news doesn’t necessarily signal they will stay on. 

Like Ginsburg, Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices Stephen Breyer and Neil Gorsuch have also hired clerks for 2019, according to Above the Law.

Ginsburg, however, is the only one who has all four clerks for the 2019 term.

While speaking at an Equal Justice Works event in October, Ginsburg said she plans to remain on the bench as long as she can do the job “full steam.”

The court’s leading liberal will be 85 in March.

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