Jackson's first Supreme Court clerks include judiciary workplace reform advocate

3 minute read

U.S. Supreme Court nominee and federal appeals court Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson smiles during a meeting with U.S. Senator Mark Warner (D-VA) on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., April 4, 2022. REUTERS/Michael A. McCoy

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  • Ketanji Brown Jackson hires two men, two women for first Supreme Court clerks
  • Clerks include a founder of Law Clerks for Workplace Accountability

(Reuters) - U.S. Supreme Court Justice-designate Ketanji Brown Jackson has selected a diverse set of lawyers to serve as her first four law clerks, including one who has advocated for the judiciary to do more to prevent sexual harassment.

Jackson has picked two women and two men to serve as clerks after she joins the high court as its first Black female justice following Justice Stephen Breyer's retirement at the end of this term.

The hires were first reported Tuesday by the legal journalist David Lat and confirmed by a spokesperson for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, where Jackson is currently a judge.

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The hires include Claire Madill, who has been working in Florida as a public defender, a role Jackson once served in, and who co-founded Law Clerks for Workplace Accountability, a group of current and former law clerks that argued for the judiciary to make changes to prevent workplace misconduct.

In an email, the University of Michigan Law School graduate said she was "incredibly honored and privileged to have been given this opportunity."

Two other hires clerked for Jackson previously: Kerrel Murray, in district court, and Natalie Salmanowitz, in the D.C. Circuit.

Murray is a Stanford Law School graduate and an associate professor at Columbia Law School who writes on constitutional law, election law and race and the law. Salmanowitz, a Harvard Law School graduate, is a law clerk at Hogan Lovells.

Jackson also is hiring Michael Qian, a Stanford law graduate and associate at Morrison & Foerster who earlier clerked for Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who died in 2020.

Jackson's hiring of Madill comes amid calls by reform advocates and lawmakers for greater legal protections for the judiciary's employees against harassment and discrimination.

Madill in a December 2017 column in Slate argued the Supreme Court "bears some of the blame" for the alleged behavior of Alex Kozinski, who resigned later that month from the 9th Circuit during an inquiry into harassment accusations by former female clerks.

Kozinski said he was retiring immediately from the lifetime appointment to avoid being a distraction for the federal judiciary.

In her column, Madill wrote "if the Supreme Court had stopped hiring Judge Kozinski’s clerks a long time ago, it would have sent a message that the Supreme Court would not tolerate sexual harassment in the judiciary."

Read more:

'We've made it': historic Supreme Court pick Jackson lauded at White House

Ex-judiciary employees describe harassment, discrimination to U.S. House panel

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Nate Raymond reports on the federal judiciary and litigation. He can be reached at nate.raymond@thomsonreuters.com.