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Courtiers of the Marble Palace is the first systematic examination of the "clerkship institution"—the web of formal and informal norms and rules surrounding the hiring and utilization of law clerks by the individual justices on the United States Supreme Court. Todd Peppers provides an unprecedented view into the work lives of and day-to-day relationships between justices and their clerks; relationships that in some cases have extended to daily breakfasts, games of competitive basketball and tennis, and occasional holiday celebrations. Through personal interviews with fifty-three former clerks and correspondence with an additional ninety, as well as personal interviews with a number of non-clerks, including Justice Antonin Scalia, Peppers has amassed a body of information that reveals the true inner-workings of the clerkship institution.
With a Foreword by Professor Robert M. O'Neil of the University of Virginia School of Law, former President of the University of Virginia and former law clerk for Justice William J. Brennan, Jr.
"This long-awaited book fills a huge gap in Supreme Court scholarship; information about Supreme Court clerks has heretofore been only patchy and anecdotal. Peppers's systematic efforts to gather information about this subject while remaining sensitive to the confidential relationship between Justices and their clerks pays off handsomely. The data he has gleaned through careful research are analyzed in a skillful and useful manner. Peppers's chapters on the stenographers and early clerks of the late nineteenth century are a particularly valuable contribution to Supreme Court history."—Clare Cushman, Supreme Court Historical Society
"This is a meticulous work of historical scholarship, tracing the evolution of the Supreme Court law clerk from its beginnings in the nineteenth century up to the present day. Refreshingly free of the gossip, politics, and rumors that have disfigured previous accounts of this important institution, the book manages to be not only scrupulous, but fascinating."—Richard Posner, Judge, United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit
"This unique history of Supreme Court law clerks is a surprise gift to anyone who is fascinated by the Court as an institution. We have read or heard the recollections of individual clerks, but none of them could possibly tell this remarkable story of how the intimate work habits and thought processes of the Justices have evolved and been profoundly transformed over the last century."—Charles A. Reich, Yale Law School, former law clerk for Justice Hugo L. Black
"This is a fine piece of work, well and clearly written, and definitive as to the history and development of the position and work of Supreme Court law clerks. . . . It provides excellent background for understanding current debates about the role and influence of the clerks."—Steven Wasby, State University of New York at Albany