Robert E. Gooding Jr., Morgan, Lewis
& Bockius; Securities Litigation (Harry
Blackmun 1970-71): Justice Blackmun had
a way of putting you at ease immediately and
making you feel at home—friendly, down to
earth, self-effacing, almost a father figure. We
were both Midwesterners at heart and hit it off
from the start.
Bussel (O’Connor 1986-87): Justice O’Connor
was a serious person of great personal force.
Her eyes pierced right through you even as she
maintained a friendly demeanor and body language.
Daniel Levin, Munger, Tolles & Olson;
Appellate, Business Litigation (Ruth Bader
Ginsburg 2004-05): Justice Ginsburg asked
me about a note I’d written in the law review;
she said she liked it but didn’t agree with my
conclusion. She offered me the clerkship at the
very end of the interview. She’d spoken with my
professors and the prior judge I’d clerked for.
She’d done her homework.
Laura Brill, Kendall Brill & Kelly;
Appellate, General Litigation (Ruth Bader
Ginsburg 1996-97): Justice Ginsburg’s office
was filled with art, personal photographs, and
objects of sentimental value, including the
famous photograph of her and Justice Scalia
riding an elephant together in India.
During their initial meeting, Scalia
teased Poon about his alma mater,
Stanford, where Scalia had briefly
taught. A few months later, all hell
broke loose with Bush v. Gore.
Julian Poon, Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher;
Appellate (Antonin Scalia 2000-01): I
remember Scalia looking up good-humoredly
from my application to comment on where I
went to college: “Stanford, huh? Smart kids,
but they don’t learn much there, eh?” He taught
there briefly as a visiting professor.
Once you got the gig, things moved
Haddad (Brennan 1986-87): Brennan [called
his office one day and] asked to speak to a law
clerk, so his secretary handed me the phone. He
said, “Hi’ya, pal. How’s everything going?” He
called everyone “pal.” I joked that the building
was still standing. He replied, “Still standing?
Still standing? What are you doing around
there? Go shake things up a bit, will ya?”
Gooding (Blackmun 1970-71): My two co-clerks and I established the tradition of going
down to the basement public cafeteria every
morning at about 8 a.m. for doughnuts and coffee
with Justice Blackmun. Frequently, law clerks
from other chambers would join us. We would talk
about anything: politics, the latest Washington
Post headlines, cases currently before the court
and, more often than not, baseball, one of Justice
Blackmun’s favorite subjects.