As we bear down on the imminent issuance of one of the most important U.S. Supreme Court decisions in our lifetimes, the noted legal prognosticators having already disgorged their opinions, the blogosphere is now filled with, well, filler. A fascinating example is this Reuters piece from Terry Baynes, "U.S. Supreme Court: Never mind the 9. Meet the 36," speculating on the possible influence of the Justices' law clerks on the outcome of the challenge to the health care law. For Supreme Court groupies, the content is scintillating, but for Michigan lawyers the most notable feature may be a small, gratuitous dig that Michigan law grads should not allow to pass unchallenged. It so happens that one of Justice Kennedy's clerks is a Michigan Law grad, and she is distinguished from many of her clerk peers in that she is, perhaps, more "liberal" than the clerks of the other Justices:
Kennedy's clerks may be a touch more diverse politically, though not academically. (Like the justice himself, all went to Harvard -- three for law school, one for college.) Leah Litman, the token University of Michigan Law School alum, "tended to be on the liberal side of the spectrum," said Douglas Brayley, a friend who clerked with her at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit in Cincinnati. The judge she worked for, Jeffrey Sutton, voted to uphold the healthcare law.
Justice Kennedy is widely speculated to be the pivotal justice in the case. If Justice Kennedy upholds the individual mandate, look for some Michigan Law grads to claim credit.