A petition accepted that must later be dismissed as “improvidently granted” is a significant embarrassment to the clerk in question. On the other hand, it is hard to get into trouble, [Pepperdine School of Law dean Kenneth] Starr said, by recommending a denial. “The prevailing spirit among the 25-year-old legal savants, whose life experience is necessarily limited in scope, is to seek out and destroy undeserving petitions,” he wrote.Starr's theory implies that they are related, and Alito's statement was made last year. Perhaps he's changed his mind.
The justices decided 67 cases last term, about half the number in an average year two decades ago. But Justice Alito has said the rise of the pool and the size of the docket are unrelated.
September 26, 2008
He's rejecting the efficiency of the system of shared law clerks in which clerk writes a memo relied on by Justices using the pool to decide whether to grant the petition to the Supreme Court to hear a case.