Human Resources » Process Freezes Women Out Of SCOTUS Clerkships

Process Freezes Women Out Of SCOTUS Clerkships


May 7, 2021

Writing in Politico, Sarah Isgur, a Harvard Law grad who clerked on the Fifth Circuit, says that women who want to have a family are at a big disadvantage when competing for Supreme Court clerkships — the assumption that candidates must first complete multiple lower level clerkships. “ It is nearly impossible to reap the benefits of a year-long clerkship with any kind of maternity leave,” she writes. “So, if multiple clerkships are now a new requirement to clerk at the Supreme Court—and get that $400,000 bonus afterward—women who take circuit court clerkships must balance a roughly 1 in 20 shot at a SCOTUS clerkship against the biological reality that they have a limited number of years to have a family. The women who are calling me are asking whether it’s worth the sacrifice; whether a shot at the Supreme Court is worth spending another year or two away from friends and family, delaying the practice of law and putting off starting a family.” She says that the process already advantaged young men from wealthy families, and now even the best-qualified women have to wonder whether it’s worth the effort.

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