“Article III Groupie.”
“Article III Groupie who?”
“Article III Groupie, who wants to prepare fawning celebrity profiles of your incoming law clerks!”
“Oh, in that case — come on in, Groupie! Sorry to be so cagey — I thought you might be that high-tech lynch mob…”
Article Three Groupie is just delighted to find herself inside the chambers of Justice Clarence Thomas, who is truly one of her most favorite justices. CT is a jurist who makes for great copy. Just think about his remarkable personal history, including his rise from humble beginnings in Pin Point, Georgia, as well as his dramatic confirmation hearings, which transfixed the entire country. (A3G can’t wait to read his autobiography when it comes out!)
Notwithstanding the ill-informed opinions of Senator Harry Reid, CT has developed an impressive track record as a Supreme Court justice. Numerous commentators have written about Justice Thomas’s distinctive and compelling approach to constitutional interpretation, which reflects a deep understanding of history and an intellectually challenging take on stare decisis. In addition, Justice Thomas has also issued opinions of great clarity and analytical rigor in various hypertechnical areas of statutory law. Even those who disagree with Justice Thomas’s views have been forced to concede that he has become an intellectual force to be reckoned with on the Court.*
Whoa, that last paragraph was dangerously substantive! And why would you want to hear what A3G, a member of the Great Unwashed, has to say about matters of substance? Let’s return to the frivolous; enough drooling over the jurisprudence of Justice Thomas.
Today we’re here to talk about his law clerks for next Term, who are just as fantastic as their boss. Please join A3G in her cyber-salute to CT’s clerks for the October Term 2005!
1. Chantel Febus (GW ’02/Lamberth (D.D.C.) ’03-’04/E. Jones ’04-’05
(a) Chantel Febus is “by all accounts a pretty conservative and very smart woman — perhaps a Janice Rogers Brown in training” (delicious!);
(d) she paid a visit to San Diego last month; and
(e) she is a huge fan of Lenny Kravitz.
2. James C. Ho (Chicago ’99/J. Smith)
(a) he is currently serving as chief counsel to Senator John Cornyn on the Senate Judiciary Committee, where he has earned praise for his bipartisanship, as well as recognition for being among “the best 35 staffers under age 35”;
(b) James Ho is “unbelievably well-connected,” which is not surprising given the impressive positions he has held at top outposts of legal conservatism (which A3G won’t bore you with; you can read about his many achievements here and here);
(c) his résumé includes a stint at the Finishing School for the Elect, where he authored a memo on the Geneva Conventions that was cited in footnote 8 of the controversial Bybee/Yoo memo on interrogation and torture (pdf);
(d) Jim Ho was described by liberal blogger Max Blumenthal as “that good-looking guy sitting behind Sen. John Cornyn (R-Tex.) during [Attorney General Alberto] Gonzales’s [confirmation] hearing” (see here);
(e) he is “known to be shy but loyal and surprisingly funny”;
(f) he puts his sense of humor to good use as a senior editor of The Green Bag, and he also finds the time to serve on the board of the Asian Pacific American Bar Association Educational Fund;
(g) he is married to a fellow member of the Elect, Allyson Newton Ho (SOC, OT 2002); and
(h) he’s “a sucker for ice cream and Morton’s dinners, and if you want to distract him, just ask him if he wants to play Texas hold ’em.”
(Perhaps Jim Ho, incoming Breyer clerk Jonathan Kravis, and incoming O’Connor clerk Ben Horwich — poker aficionados all — can set up a law clerk poker tournament at One First Street?)
3. John M. Hughes (Chicago ’04/Luttigator)
(a) as a “first-rate college debater” for Wake Forest, John Hughes was “a relentless competitor with a golden tongue,” demonstrating “striking personal vigor and charisma” (as seen in the photo at right);
(c) after “unexpectedly disappearing to the midwest somewhere,” John Hughes “reemerged several years later to dominate (expectedly) the University of Chicago Law School“;
(d) he and his wife Amy, a health care consultant for Mitretek Healthcare, met during their time together at Wake Forest; and
(e) John and Amy have an absolutely adorable baby boy, Jack Hughes, who was born on July 7, 2004 (see here, and picture at left).
4. Ashley Jones Johnson (Vanderbilt ’04/Luttigatrix)
(a) Ashley Johnson received her undergraduate and law degrees at Vanderbilt;
(b) as a Vanderbilt undergrad, she did an impressive double major in history and math;
(c) she was planning to pursue graduate studies in math (wow) — but then she, like her Luttig/Thomas co-clerk John Hughes, got bitten by the debate bug;
(d) as she explained in this interview, she joined the debate team in her junior year, which then lured her over to the law, since “[a] lot of people on the debate team were going to law school” (and she was “tired of math”);
(e) sorry, guys, she’s married — to Adam Johnson, a health care consultant for Stockamp & Associates;
(f) they’re both huge fans of Vanderbilt basketball (see photo at right of them at a game); and
(g) Ashley’s family is from Birmingham, Alabama, and she’ll be visiting them after her Luttigatrix stint ends in June and before her CT gig starts up in July.
Most excellent! A3G is very envious of these four amazing and accomplished individuals, who will get to spend a year working closely with Justice Thomas — and hearing his famous Darth Vader impression (“You have failed me for the last time, John…”). She offers them her congratulations and sincere wishes for a great OT with CT.
They are sure to have a good time with the friendly and fun-loving Justice Thomas. As noted in this bio by the Supreme Court Historical Society, Justice Thomas is “[g]regarious, with a hearty laugh,” and known to enjoy “lifting weights, watching basketball, and smoking cigars.” (In fact, until an injury sidelined him some years ago, Justice Thomas would even play basketball with law clerks at the Supreme Court basketball court.) CT is well-known around One First Street as one of the most friendly and accessible justices.
In closing, Article Three Groupie would like to tie up one loose end. She previously reported (see item #2) that Larry D. Thompson, Jr., son of former Deputy Attorney General Larry Thompson, had been hired by Justice Thomas for OT 2004, but had deferred his clerkship. A3G assumed that Luttigator Larry would be one of CT’s clerks for OT 2005 (which is why she included him on this preliminary listing of clerks).
But then multiple sources confirmed that the incoming Thomas clerks are Chantel Febus, James Ho, John Hughes, and Ashley J. Johnson. She heard one rumor that Thompson had deferred until OT 2006, and she heard another rumor that LT won’t be clerking for CT at all. Can anyone she some light on this? If so, please email A3G.
If the latter rumor is true, it could have implications for Judge J. Michael Luttig’s nearly perfect record as a Supreme Court feeder judge (which explains A3G’s excessive, schadenfreude-driven interest in it). Article 3 Groupie must emphasize, however, that right now it’s merely a rumor — nothing has been confirmed. After all, A3G would not want to be sued by Mr. Thompson for impugning his status as a Supreme Court clerk. Accusing a member of the Elect of being one of the Great Unwashed is defamatory per se!
* If A3G had her druthers, CT would participate more actively at oral arguments. While his humility and restraint are admirable — unlike some justices, he isn’t in love with the sound of his own voice — he could afford to speak more from the bench without crossing the line into obnoxiousness.