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October 21, 2005

The Chief goes swimming

Though I am sure Article III Groupie loves the thought of Chief Justice Roberts wearing a bathing suit underneath his robe, the Chief's swimming referenced in this post title concerns his participation in the cert pool.  Here is a report of Roberts' dip in the pool from this article by Tony Mauro:

In one of his first major decisions about how he will operate as a justice, Roberts, when asked about the pool this week said through the Court public information office that he was joining it for at least his first year.  That qualifier went unexplained, but it at least suggests the possibility that once Roberts gets settled in, he will take another look.

With eight justices — all except John Paul Stevens — participating, the pool has come in for criticism for giving individual clerks too much power to determine the fate of cases.  Even Stevens does not read all the incoming petitions, which means that most are never seen by any justice.

Back when Roberts was a practitioner who had to explain to clients why clerks were the only ones reading his work product, Roberts himself said in a speech that he found the pool "a little disquieting."  So when he took the reins of the Court Oct. 3, it seemed possible that Roberts might stay out of the pool or, as he suggested in 1997, create "parallel pools" so that each petition would be looked at by at least two pool clerks.

In this post back in August, I speculated that the SCOTUS emphasis on capital cases is a by-product of clerk interest and the operation of the cert pool.  And in this post I suggested that the greatest impact of a Chief Justice Roberts could be through efforts to expand the Supreme Court's caseload and to reform the operation of the cert pool.  Thus, while the Miers' buzz continues, I actually think this cert pool story could be the biggest SCOTUS news of the day.

UPDATE: Lyle Denniston over at SCOTUSblog has this interesting post discussing the cert pool which suggests that it is at least partially responsible for the Court's shrunken docket.

October 21, 2005 at 09:56 AM | Permalink

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» Blog Round-Up - Friday, October 21st from SCOTUSblog
On the Miers nomination: Think Progress has this post on the fact that Miers was suspended from the Texas bar. PrawfsBlawg has this post on the Democratic Party's response - or lack thereof - to the Miers' nomination. Here PrawfsBlawg... [Read More]

Tracked on Oct 21, 2005 2:50:18 PM

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