Robert Giuffra Jr. (left) clerked
for Chief Justice Rehnquist
during the 1988-89 session. “He
was a very down-to-earth guy,”
says Giuffra of the justice, here
in his chambers in 1988, “who
didn’t like arrogant people.”
Randall D. Guynn, Davis Polk & Wardwell
(William Rehnquist, 1985-86): It became a
myth that you needed to be a good tennis player
to get a job with Justice Rehnquist. That was a
misinterpretation. He was looking for one player who
could be his partner, and then two players who were
not very good, for doubles. And I fell into that [latter]
category. No one tried to kill him, although every
clerk will tell a story of accidentally hitting a ball
right at him, hard. He was actually good about that.
Nussbaum (Scalia, 1992-93): Scalia was a good
social tennis player. His knees were not as good as
they may have once been. He had been a big squash
player. His best shot was what he called “the Scalia
Drop Shot.” He would enjoy seeing you race to the net.
Levy (Ginsburg, 2009-10): She’s aware
that there’s a Notorious R.B.G. book. There’s a
bobblehead, too. I think she’s aware of those things.
Guynn (Rehnquist, 1985-86): It was not
uncommon for somebody to stop Rehnquist and
ask him to take their picture in front of the Supreme
Court building—not knowing this was actually a
justice on the Supreme Court taking their picture.
The hours are long, often from
8 a.m. to 11 p.m. daily.
Evan Davis, Cleary Gottlieb Steen &
Hamilton (Potter Stewart, 1970-71): I began
the job in August, and Justice Stewart was in New
Hampshire, where he spent his summers. We would
write petition memos and send them by mail to him
in New Hampshire.
Rosenkranz (Brennan, 1987-88): Brennan
didn’t want his law clerks reading cert petitions like
all the other law clerks did. He did the cert petitions
himself. He wanted his law clerks out in the field,
among other law clerks, gathering intelligence
about what was on their minds and the minds
of their bosses. It is common wisdom that there
was no one like Justice Brennan at getting to five
[votes]. Justice Brennan used to tell his law clerks,
over and over, “You can accomplish anything in this
courthouse if you can count to five.” And he would
hold up his fingers on one hand and wiggle them.
Nussbaum (Scalia, 1992-93): To have a
15-minute conversation with Scalia on substance
[involved] many, many days of work. You always
knew it was not going to take him particularly
long to get up to speed.
Davis (Stewart, 1970-71): Stewart would
say sometimes “affirm,” sometimes “reverse,”
sometimes “affirm question-mark,” sometimes
“reverse question-mark.” The most we could do