Nearly 20 years ago, USA TODAY reported on a first-ever study of the powerful young law clerks who are hired by the U.S. Supreme Court to help justices do their work — work that affects the lives of all Americans.The research showed that those prestigious one-year clerkships, a golden ticket to a top-tier legal career, were going overwhelmingly to white males. Fewer than 2% were African-Americans, 1% were Hispanic, and only a quarter were women.The stories, which occupied more space in USA TODAY than any other topic in a single day’s edition until then, caused a stir. Civil rights leaders protested and got arrested on the steps of the Supreme Court, and justices were routinely asked by members of Congress why they have not hired more minorities. More: Who are we as a country? Time to decide: Sally Yates More: Listen up Supreme Court: Warrantless smartphone tracking violates our rights I wrote those stories as USA TODAY’s Supreme Court … [Read more...] about Supreme Court clerks are overwhelmingly white and male. Just like 20 years ago.
Supreme court clerks
Americans count on the justices to be nearly infallible, but the Supreme Court this year has made two embarrassing stumbles by kicking the wrong lawyers out of the high court’s bar.In both cases, the court said, it was a matter of mistaken identity. A lawyer with virtually the same name had gotten into trouble, and the court took action — only they had the wrong guy.The bungles came to light when the court had to revoke its original order.Court-watchers said that kind of mistake is “exceedingly rare.” Indeed, a review by The Washington Times found past instances in 1988, 1991, 1995 and 1997. But it appears to have been decades since the last goof-up, so notching two in the same year was striking.In one instance the court in May announced it was suspending Christopher Patrick Sullivan from the bar, and demanded he “show cause” why he shouldn’t be disbarred altogether. Weeks later, the justices asked for a mulligan.“Due to mistaken … [Read more...] about Supreme Court blunders tarnish reputation
New York taxpayers are on the hook for $335,000 due to a Manhattan Supreme Court clerk’s failure to make new lawsuits promptly available to the public. Late last month, Manhattan Federal Court Judge Edgardo Ramos approved the hefty attorney fees in a lawsuit brought by Courthouse News Service brought. The service had said County Clerk Milton Tingling’s policies prevented reporters — and the public — from accessing certain high-profile civil cases even though they were technically filed and covered by select media outlets. Some Manhattan Supreme Court lawsuits were being withheld for a day or more while Tingling’s employees finished clerical work. Tingling “has complied with the preliminary injunction by modifying the New York State Courts electronic filing system to permit the immediate public online viewing of case(s),” Ramos wrote in a five-page order regarding the fees. In December, Ramos ordered Tingling to make the … [Read more...] about Court clerk prevented public from accessing lawsuits, costing New York taxpayers $335G
Two Manhattan Supreme Court clerks face charges after making litigants pay for access to free documents, a court spokesman said Monday. Triston Baptiste, 34, and David Washington, 48, were arrested Thursday on official misconduct charges, said Lucian Chalfen of the Office of Court Administration. “They were basically charging litigants for certain paperwork, things that should have been free,” Chalfen said. The men worked in the records room in the basement of 60 Centre St., where staffers retrieve and maintain case files. Baptiste allegedly accepted payments totaling $1,180 on four occasions from undercover investigators beginning October 2016, according to a criminal complaint. Baptiste also faced a charge of petit larceny. Washington told a Law Department attorney that he would have to pay $820 for photocopies of a 3,200-page document, according to a complaint. Law Department staff are exempt from copying fees. Washington was also slapped with … [Read more...] about 2 court clerks made litigants pay for access to free documents
The Supreme Court, which asks for God’s protection before every public session, will settle a dispute over prayer in the halls of government. The case being argued at the court Wednesday involves prayers said at the start of town council meetings in Greece, N.Y., a Rochester suburb. It is the court’s first legislative prayer case since 1983, when the justices said that an opening prayer is part of the nation’s fabric and not a violation of the First Amendment. But the federal appeals court in New York held that the town crossed a line and violated the Constitution by opening nearly every meeting over an 11-year span with prayers that stressed Christianity. Under Chief Justice John Roberts, and with the replacement of Justice Sandra Day O’Connor with Justice Samuel Alito in 2006, the court has been more open to religion in public life. The case may serve as a test of the ongoing viability of the decision in the 1983 case, Marsh v. Chambers. But it … [Read more...] about Legislative prayer gets Supreme Court review
Tim McLoughlin uses bits and pieces of elevator chit-chat and hallway conversations he's picked up on the job in his successful crime fiction. Now the 50-year-old Brooklyn Supreme Court clerk, who grew up in Bay Ridge, has turned his childhood memories and stories into a film that opens across the country on Friday. "It's literally like an out-of-body experience, seeing these scenes that you thought of being acted out on the screen," said McLoughlin, who first told the film's coming-of-age tale in his novel, "Heart of the Old Country." "The Narrows" stars another Bay Ridge native, "Law & Order's" Vincent D'Onofrio - but the two hadn't met before filming began. "We were stomping around a few blocks from each other and never knew it," McLoughlin said. "The Narrows" is the story of Mike Manadoro (Kevin Zegers), a young man torn as he tries to leave the neighborhood behind for a career as a photographer in Manhattan. But Mike quickly learns how tough it is to cut ties, and gets sucked … [Read more...] about From Bay Ridge to big screen: Court clerk & novelist’s movie ‘The Narrows’ to open at Pavilion
Ted Cruz offered a straightforward check for what he believes is an overreaching Supreme Court decision on gay marriage. The Texas senator and Republican presidential contender, himself a former Supreme Court clerk, said that states not specifically named in the ruling can ignore it. FOLLOW THE DAILY NEWS ON FACEBOOK. CLICK HERE TO "LIKE." "Article III of the Constitution gives the court the authority to resolve cases and controversies. Those cases and controversies, when they're resolved, when you're facing a judicial order, the parties to that suit are bound it," Cruz told NPR's Steve Inskeep on Morning Edition. "Those who are not parties to the suit are not bound by it." The Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage by a 5-4 vote in a landmark decision Friday. Yet the case of Obergefell v. Hodges deals directly only with Ohio, Kentucky, Michigan and Tennessee, which by Cruz's logic, are the only states which must comply. States, … [Read more...] about Ted Cruz tells states to ignore Supreme Court ruling allowing gay marriage: ‘Those who are not parties to the suit are not bound by it’
Marriage is now legal in the U.S.A. for Adam and Steve — not just Adam and Eve. The Supreme Court declared Friday by a vote of 5 to 4 that same-sex couples have a right to marry anywhere in the country. President Obama joined in cheering the decision, calling it not just a victory for gays and lesbians, but for America. FOLLOW THE DAILY NEWS ON FACEBOOK. CLICK HERE TO "LIKE" “We’ve made our union a little more perfect,” Obama said in a Rose Garden address. The decision is a reminder that “change is possible, shifts in hearts and minds is possible,” he said. “This nation was founded on the principle that all people are created equal,” he said. “People should be treated equally no matter who they are or who they love.” Earlier, in a tweet, Obama called the decision “a big step in our march for equality.” And in a surreal but still celebratory TV moment, … [Read more...] about A ‘MORE PERFECT’ UNION: Obama hails Supreme Court ruling legalizing gay marriage across U.S.
A former Bronx courthouse clerk who pocketed more than $80,000 in under-reported cash transactions for passport applications and business certificates will dodge prison if he repays the loot, a judge ruled Thursday. Christopher Goodly, 30, was indicted last year for stealing up to $1,000 at a time between 2012 and 2013 as a finance clerk in Bronx Civil Court. He confessed to the crime at Bronx Supreme Court — a mere block from the Grand Concourse courthouse where he used to work. Goodly was fired in 2013 after an audit found that he had issued far more documents than he had reported, said a source. The plea to second-degree grand larceny requires Goodly to pay back over $86,000 in restitution and fees over five years, or face up to three years in prison. Join the Conversation: … [Read more...] about Ex-Bronx court clerk who stole $80K must repay money or go to prison: judge
The Supreme Court’s ruling Friday set a precedent that 13 states are now required to recognize gay marriages and issue licenses to same-couples that wish to wed. Some governors in those Midwest and Southern states are mixed on how to go forward with the historic ruling. Some, like Governors Bobby Jindal and Greg Abbott, have promised to fight that ruling citing religious freedom and state rights that they believe should supersede a Supreme Court ruling. EDITORIAL: THE RIGHT RULING AT THE RIGHT TIME Jindal's administration is holding tight to Louisiana's ban. It could be nearly a month before gay couples can obtain a marriage license as the Attorney General’s Office asks clerks to not follow the Supreme Court’s ruling, local reports said. The Louisiana Clerks of Court Association also informed clerks to not issue licenses until a 25-day rehearing period ends for the Supreme Court, in case a challenged is filed, according to the New Orleans Advocate. … [Read more...] about Louisiana, Texas governors vow to fight Supreme Court ruling on gay marriage while others pledge to comply