You are here

Of Courtiers and Kings

More Stories of Supreme Court Law Clerks and Their Justices
Edited by Todd C. Peppers and Clare Cushman

BUY Cloth · 448 pp. · 6.125 × 9.25 · ISBN 9780813937267 · $34.95 · Dec 2015
BUY Ebook · 448 pp. · ISBN 9780813937274 · $34.95 · Dec 2015

Supreme Court justices have long relied on law clerks to help process the work of the Court. Yet few outside the Court are privy to the behind-the-scenes bonds that form between justices and their clerks.

In Of Courtiers and Kings, Todd C. Peppers and Clare Cushman offer an intimate new look at the personal and professional relationships of law clerks with their justices. Going beyond the book’s widely acclaimed predecessor, I n Chambers, the vignettes collected here range from reflections on how serving as clerks at the Supreme Court impacted the careers of such justices as Stephen Breyer, Elena Kagan, William Rehnquist, John G. Roberts Jr., and John Paul Stevens to personal recollections written by parents and children who have both served as Supreme Court clerks. While individual essays often focus on a single justice and his or her corps of clerks—including how that justice selected and utilized the clerks—taken as a whole the volume provides a macro-level view of the evolution of the role of the Supreme Court law clerk. Drawing on a rich repository of such anecdotes, insights, and experience, the volume relates in a clear and accessible style how the clerking function has changed over time and what it is like for law clerks to be witnesses to history.

Offering a rare glimpse into a normally unseen world, Of Courtiers and Kings reveals the Court’s increasing reliance on law clerks and raises important questions about the selection, utilization, and influence of law clerks.

Praise for In Chambers:

"An excellent book.... It's interesting for many different reasons, not the least of which as a reminder of how much of a bastion of elitism the Court has always been."—Atlantic Monthly

"The best parts of the book are the behind-the-scenes descriptions of life at the court.... [A]n impressive and comprehensive book."—Associated Press


" Of Courtiers and Kings paints a fascinating picture of how the Supreme Court clerkship, an extremely important but often opaque institution, has evolved over time. This carefully curated collection of rich historical essays will enlighten and delight both Supreme Court obsessives and readers who are new to the Court and the critical role it plays in our democracy."

David Lat, Managing Editor of "Above the Law," author of Supreme Ambitions

Nobody knows more about Supreme Court clerkships than Todd Peppers. Nobody has a better bird’s-eye view of the Supreme Court than Clare Cushman. All the essays in this book go to show why Supreme Court clerks play an important and intriguing role in the judicial process.

J. Harvie Wilkinson III, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, author of Serving Justice: A Supreme Court Clerk's View

If you’re a Supreme Court nerd or a legal history buff, or if you’re looking for a holiday gift for someone who’s a SCOTUS devotee, then I have a recommendation for you.

Above the Law

Of Courtiers and Kings... offer[s] one of the best sources for understanding what has become an important institution as evidenced by law schools touting clerkships as a crowning achievement of their alumni, which is a pretty sure path to faculty lunch tables, the bench, and partnerships. This book will be a welcome addition to both academic and larger public law libraries.


About the Author(s): 

Todd C. Peppers, Henry H. and Trudye H. Fowler Professor of Public Affairs at Roanoke College and a Visiting Professor of Law at Washington and Lee University School of Law, is the author of Courtiers of the Marble Palace: The Rise and Influence of the Supreme Court Law Clerk and the coeditor, with Artemus Ward, of In Chambers: Stories of Supreme Court Law Clerks and Their Justices (Virginia). Clare Cushman, Director of Publications at the Supreme Court Historical Society, is the author of Courtwatchers: Eyewitness Accounts in Supreme Court History and the editor of Supreme Court Decisions and Women’s Rights and The Supreme Court Justices: Illustrated Biographies, 1789-2012.

Interested in this topic?
Stay updated with our newsletters:

Related Books