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Clerk to the Stars

By Kari Santos | Jan. 2, 2015


Law Office Management

Jan. 2, 2015

Clerk to the Stars

Retired SCOTUS clerk Gen. William Suter visits California as a Hoover Institute Fellow.

Many people might be ready for a life of repose after 21 years managing the day-to-day business of a major court. But Gen. William Suter - who became the 19th U.S. Supreme Court Clerk after a 30-year career in the Army, where he retired as Judge Advocate General in 1991 - has taken his second retirement as a cue to launch a sideline as a high-court booster.

Suter spoke at Golden Gate University in San Francisco recently about the Court's inner workings, his own list of Supreme Court Do's and Don'ts for lawyers, and the writing he plans to do as a fellow with the Hoover Institute.

"One of the few things everyone agrees on about the Supreme Court is there's a lot we don't know," he said in opening. He offered a bon mot about California jurists: "Certain groups are always the butt of jokes, let's face it ..., and we shouldn't get our socks all tight about it. But the Ninth Circuit does get reversed a lot." He then reeled off a smorgasbord of statistics:

450: the number of people who work at the Court (150 are police officers)

129: the most questions the justices have ever posed in a single one-hour hearing

61: cases Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher partner Ted Olson has argued there

8,000: petitions for certiorari filed with the Court each year (Attorneys write 2,000, and 6,000 come from people representing themselves, half in criminal and half in civil cases; 300 are reviewed each week.)

80: oral arguments the Court hears annually

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Kari Santos

Daily Journal Staff Writer

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