Actors in the Judicial Process


Lawyers are an integral part of our justice system, without whom the entire process collapses. Courts are passive institutions, and without lawyers seeking resolutions to conflicts both civil and criminal, the courts would have little to no purpose and negligible role to play in politics and policy. In our section on lawyers, we offer two avenues of research. The first lane examines the lawyers—who they are and why that matters. In “Riddled with Exclusivity,” Austin Carsh, in partial fulfillment of his honors BS in political science at Oregon State University, examines the demographic characteristics of the Supreme Court Bar—the men and women who argue before the justices with some frequency. While women and people of color have made inroads in terms of representation in law school classes and the profession in general, Carsh finds that this elite level of the profession is still woefully lacking in diversity. His conclusion connects this finding to important concerns regarding the Court’s agenda and legitimacy. Scott Hofer and Susan Achury take a closer look at the law school pipeline and its effect or lack thereof on the inclusivity of the federal judiciary, finding, like Carsh, that broadening law school representation does not automatically result in a more diverse and inclusive legal profession. The second avenue examines how lawyers react to losing before the Supreme Court. Too often, a loss before the US Supreme Court, particularly a loss on a constitutional question, is regarded as a death knell for the underlying position or idea. Professor Richard S. Price reveals that lawyers are not so easily dismissed. Constitutional lawyers are capable of taking a loss before the justices and reinventing their case at the state level, winning on a smaller stage and helping develop state law that is too often ignored for the larger federal arena.

Carsh, Austin. “Riddled with Exclusivity: The Homogeneity of the Supreme Court Bar in the Roberts Court.”

Hofer, Scott and Susan Achury. “Examining Diversity, Inclusion, and Equity in the Legal Profession: An Analysis of Career Tracks and Representation.”

Price, Richard S. “On Remand: Legal Strategies After Supreme Court Losses.”


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Open Judicial Politics Copyright © 2021 by Rorie Spill Solberg & Eric Waltenburg is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.