Former Justice Thomas clerk and Catholic University Law Professor Peter “Bo” Rutledge will be arguing before the Supreme Court today in the case of Irizarry v. United States. The case involves the sentence imposed on a man who threatened to harm his wife. The sentence at issue exceeded the sentencing guidelines and the issue is whether the court must give the parties notice when it is considering a departure from the guidelines?
Interestingly, Rutledge was asked to give arguments in a long-standing, oft-forgotten trend involving Justices tapping former clerks to argue on behalf of parties or positions during oral arguments:
“As Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg expressed it in a footnote in the 2003 case Clay v. United States, appointing a lawyer to defend the lower court judgment when no one else will ‘permits us to decide the case satisfied that the relevant issues have been fully aired.’”