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Prof. Stras And Alumna Amy Bergquist ('07) Appear In ABA Journal Magazine On Supreme Court Clerkships

OCTOBER 22, 2009—Professor David Stras and alumna Amy Bergquist ('07) appeared as sources in the October 2009 issue of ABA Journal magazine.

The article, "Shedding Tiers," discusses the longstanding tendency of U.S. Supreme Court justices to choose their law clerks from a tiny pool of six or seven law schools. Academics wonder how this tendency may create unusual "barriers of entry" for competent students from other law schools, and how that ultimately might affect diversity, the article states.

As in previous terms, the majority of Supreme Court law clerks for 2009-2010 were chosen from what the article calls "the elite end of the law school pool"—predominantly Harvard and Yale.

Yet the article spotlights a few rare students from beyond the traditional pool who have impressed the Supreme Court justices enough to gain a clerkship—including the Law School's Amy Bergquist, ('07), who was recently selected by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

The article also quotes Prof. David Stras (Vance K. Opperman Research Scholar at the Law School, the Co-Director of the Institute for Law and Politics, and an affiliated Associate Professor of Political Science) who clerked for Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas in 2002-2003. During his own clerkship, Stras recalls in the article, many people simply assumed he had come from Harvard or Yale, instead of his alma mater, the University of Kansas School of Law.

In addition to Bergquist, several other Law School alumni have clerked for the Supreme Court over the years: James Hale (’65), Allan Ryan ('70), Scott Knudson (’82), and Doug Winthrop (’91).

Portrait of Professor David Stras

Read Professor
Stras' Bio

Portrait of Amy Bergquist

Amy Bergquist ('07)