Slow news day? The editors of the New York Times think it is worth space on the front page to print Linda Greenhouse’s story that there will be a dip in the number of women law clerks working for Supreme Court justices in the coming term. It’s a perfectly non-newsworthy story, as explained by no less a Greenhouse-adored source than Justice David Souter, who will have no women among his clerks this year: women make up a smaller proportion of the applicant pool for clerkships than their numbers among law school graduates, and the justices generally pick the best applicants without regard to sex. Souter calls this year’s results the product of “random variation” in the applicant pool. Oh. Never mind!
We know that merit is not always the highest consideration in the selection of Supreme Court justices. Nice to know that merit still prevails in (most of) the justices’ chambers as they hire young assistants.