Justice Neil Gorsuch has joined Justice Samuel Alito Jr. in opting out of the Court’s “cert. pool” – a labor-saving procedure by which all certiorari stage briefing is initially reviewed by a law clerk from one of the participating Justice’s chambers. Justices who participate in the pool then receive a “pool memo,” generated by the reviewing clerk, which makes a “grant” or “deny” recommendation.
Instead, Justices Gorsuch and Alito, along with their judicial clerks, will review each incoming petition on their own in order to make the grant/deny recommendation. Approximately 8,000 petitions are filed each term; less than 80 of which are deemed “certworthy.”
The cert. pool has long been criticized for providing talented young clerks – neither appointed nor confirmed – with too much power.
Some argue that having several sets of eyes review each petition — the pool clerk, along with clerks from the chambers of