Archive for the ‘Peppers, Todd C.’ Category

Professor Peppers Publishes Edited Collection on Supreme Court Clerks

November 12, 2015 Leave a comment

peppersbookThis December, the University of Virginia Press will publish a new collection of essays on Supreme Court law clerks, edited by Visiting Professor Todd Peppers.  The title of the book is “Of Courtiers and Kings: More Stories of Supreme Court Law Clerks and their Justices,” and was co-edited by Peppers and Clare Cushman, Director of Publications at the Supreme Court Historical Society, with a foreword by retired Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens.

The essays are by a “who’s who” of the legal professional, from prominent Supreme Court litigator Carter Phillips, Harvard Law School Dean Martha Minow and law professor Norman Dorsen to former White House Counsel Abner Mikva, Judge J. Harvie Wilkinson III, and Mimi  Clark Gronlund, daughter of former Supreme Court Justice Tom C. Clark.  Peppers himself has contributed essays on Chief Justice William Howard Taft and his clerks as well as Justice Hugo Black and his clerks.  He also co-wrote an essay on Abe Fortas and his clerks with Bridget Tainer-Parkins ’09L.

In praising the book, J. Harvie Wilkinson III, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit said, “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.”

Peppers writes extensively on the Supreme Court justices and their clerks. This fall he published an article in the National Law Journal’s Supreme Court Brief titled “Why Justice Alito Jumped Out of the Pool,” which explored why Alito does not rely on cert. pool memos written by law clerks in other chambers in deciding which cert. petitions to grant or deny. He also published an article in the Supreme Court Insider, also published by the National Law Journal, titled “Of Potted Plants and Popes.” The article examined why specific Supreme Court justices (like Antonin Scalia) declined to attend the Pope’s speech before a joint session of Congress.

A recent symposium on law clerks organized by Peppers and a colleague at Marquette Law School was featured in that law school’s magazine. That article is available online (PDF format).

Professor Peppers Cited in New York Times

November 13, 2014 Leave a comment
Prof. Todd Peppers

Prof. Todd Peppers

Professor Todd Peppers’s work, “Random Chance or Loaded Dice: The Politics of Judicial Designation” (with K. Vigilante and C. Zorn) was quoted this week in the New York Times.   Appearing on Monday, November 10, 2014, the the article “Coalition Challenges Selection of Judges in Same-Sex Marriage Case” by Adam Liptak discusses a recent court filing alleging panel rigging in the 9th circuit on same sex marriage cases.

Professor Peppers’s article was cited for its findings of  “clear and consistent evidence that chief judges, in making designation decisions, tend to choose individuals with similar ideologies.”


New Publications from Prof. Todd Peppers

August 6, 2014 Leave a comment

Visiting Professor Todd Peppers

Visiting professor Todd Peppers has completed a number of new scholarly works this summer addressing the role of Supreme Court law clerks.

Professor Peppers authored two essays entitled “Form Your Battalions and Fight: The Story of Justice Holmes, His Law Clerks, and Saucy French Novels” and“The Care and Feeding of Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.” will be published in Supreme Court Historical Society Quarterly.  These writings draw on the personal papers of Justice Holmes, and examine different aspects of the professional and personal relationships that Justice Holmes had with his law clerks.

“Surgeons or Scribes? The Role of United States Court of Appeals Law Clerks in “Appellate Triage”, co-authored with Bridget Tainer-Parkins, will be published later this year by the Marquette Law Review as part of a symposium issue on law clerks.  The essay examines how Court of Appeals judges select and utilize their law clerks, and it is based on original survey data of Court of Appeals judges.

The co-authored article “The Mysterious Decline of En Banc Review in the U.S. Courts Of Appeals” will appear in the Justice System Journal.  Using original data, the paper tests hypotheses as to why circuit courts decide to grant en banc review.

Lastly, Professor Peppers is co-editor of a forthcoming book published by the University of VirginiaPress.  The book is a collection of essays written by former law clerks, judicial biographers and social scientists.  The essays explore the hiring and employment of Supreme Court law clerks, as well as the personal bonds which form between law clerks and their justices.   The introduction of the book is written by former Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens.

Prof. Peppers Recogized for Influential Political Science Work

March 30, 2014 Leave a comment
Visiting Professor Peppers

Visiting Professor Peppers

In the January 2014 issue of PS: Political Science & Politics, Washington & Lee visiting professor of law Todd Peppers was recognized for his article “Picking Federal Judges: A Note on Policy and Partisan Selection Agendas” (with M. Giles & V. Hettinger).    Authors Salmon A. Shomade, Roger E. Hartley, and Lisa M. Holmes, in their article “Lower Federal Court Judicial Confirmation Fights: A Critical Review of the Empirical Literature and Future Research Directions” identified the work as the second-most influential political science article on lower court confirmation politics in the last twenty years.  It has been cited over 200 times.

Professor Peppers co-authored and published “Picking Federal Judges: A Note on Policy and Partisan Selection Agendas” in Political Research Quarterly in 2001.

From the abstract:

The importance of lower federal courts in the policymaking process has stimulated extensive research programs focused on the process of selecting the judges of these courts and the factors influencing their decisions. The present study employs judicial decisionmaking in the U.S. Courts of Appeals as a window through which to reexamine the politics of selection to the lower courts. It differs from previous studies of selection in three ways. First, it takes advantage of recent innovations in measurement to go beyond reliance on political party as a measure of the preferences of actors in the selection process. Second, employing these new measures it examines the relative effects of the operation of policy and partisan agendas in the selection process. Third, a more complex model of selection is assessed than in most previous studies-one that expressly examines the role of senators and senatorial preferences in the selection process. The results clearly suggest that the politics of selection differ dramatically depending upon whether or not senatorial courtesy is in operation. The voting behavior of Courts of Appeals judges selected without senatorial courtesy is consistent with the operation of a presidential policy agenda. Among judges selected when senatorial courtesy is in play, the linkage between presidential preferences and judicial outcomes disappears.

Visiting Prof. Todd Peppers to participate in Supreme Court Clerk Conference

February 14, 2014 Leave a comment

Visiting Prof. Todd Peppers

Visiting law professor Todd peppers is a co-organizer and participant at the upcoming symposium Judicial Assistants or Junior Judges: the Hiring, Utilization and Influence of Law Clerks.

The symposium will be held on April 11-12, 2014 at the Marquette University Law School. During the symposium, judicial biographers, journalists, legal scholars, social scientists, and judges will discuss a variety of issues related to law clerks – from how law clerks are selected (including issues of racial and academic diversity) and relied upon by biographers and journalists to the various job duties given to law clerks and the related question of law clerk influence. The Marquette Law Review will subsequently publish a symposium edition, containing essays written by many of the participants.

Visiting Professor Todd Peppers to Publish Article Analyzing Supreme Court Justice Attendance at State of the Union Addresses

November 13, 2012 Leave a comment

Prof. Peppers

W&L Visiting Professor Todd Peppers will publish “Of Potted Plants and Political Images: The Supreme Court and the State of the Union Address,” which will appear in print in the Kansas Journal of Law and Public Policy (Volume XXII, No. 1 (2012): 49-81).

The article, which was co-written by Emory University political scientist Micheal Giles, uses original data to test hypotheses regarding judicial attendance at the annual State of the Union address. Their interest in this topic was sparked by an incident at the 2010 State of the Union address, where Justice Alito was criticized for physically reacting to a statement that President Obama made during his speech about the Citizens United decision. In the months following the 2010 address, several conservative justices spoke out in favor of Justice Alito and in opposition to the tradition of the justices attending the annual address.

Peppers and his co-author spent six months coding judicial attendance at every state of the union address, from Woodrow Wilson to Barack Obama. Using this original data, they examined whether judicial attendance at the annual address is a function of ideological harmony between the justice and the president (in other words, conservative justices are more likely to attend addresses given by conservative presidents than liberal justices). As they suspected, they found that judicial attendance at the State of the Union address has dramatically declined over time. As for why, they found little support for the “ideological harmony” hypothesis – finding instead that attendance is more likley related to the age and judicial tenure of the justices (the longer on the bench, the less likely justices are to attend the State of the Union address).

Dr. Todd C. Peppers is the Henry H. and Trudye Fowler Associate Professor of Public Affairs at Roanoke College in Salem, Virginia.

Visiting Professor Todd Peppers to Publish Article on Leaks by Supreme Court Clerks

November 7, 2012 Leave a comment

Visiting Professor Peppers

On Wednesday, the Charleston Law Review will publish an article by W&L Visiting Professor Todd Peppers in its Supreme Court preview edition entitled “Of Leakers and Legal Briefers: The Modern Supreme Court Law Clerk” (Charleston Law Review Volume VII (2012): 95-109.  It uses the recent leaks surrounding the Obamacare decision, and the allegations that Supreme Court law clerks were the source of the leaks, to discuss the role that law clerks have played on the Rehnquist and Roberts Courts.

Dr. Todd C. Peppers is the Henry H. and Trudye Fowler Associate Professor of Public Affairs at Roanoke College in Salem, Virginia.