By Michael Caruso
The federal judiciary has recognized that diversity and inclusion are essential values in our legal system. "Diversity on the bench and among our courtroom and chambers staff is critical to serving a diverse population," said Judge Raymond A. Jackson of the Eastern District of Virginia. "It's important that the court is reflective of the community it serves." This is particularly true of those chosen to clerk on the United States Supreme Court.
Judge (soon to be Justice) Ketanji Brown Jackson has put these words into action. Judge Jackson recently hired Kerrel Murray, an associate professor at Columbia Law School, Natalie Salmanowitz, a law clerk at Hogan Lovells, and Michael Qian, an associate at Morrison & Foerster.
Judge Jackson's other hire is Claire Madill. Ms. Madill practices locally—at the Palm Beach County Public Defender's Office! I don't know the exact number of Supreme Court clerks who have been hired from a public defender's office, but the number has to be exceedingly small.
In addition to being a public defender, Ms. Madill also is a co-founder of Law Clerks for Workplace Accountability. This group advocates for stronger anti-harassment measures across the federal judiciary. Ms. Madill's hire and work with this group are timely, given the report this week about a disturbing workplace study conducted for the federal trial and appeals courts in D.C.
As the saying goes, "personnel is policy." Choosing a young public defender—one who has a proven commitment to the public interest—is an excellent policy. Praise to Judge Jackson, and congratulations to Ms. Madill!