Supreme Court Justice Experience
Responding to the recent calls for President Obama to replace David Souter with someone with “political experience” rather than going 9 for 9 with prior Courts of Appeal judges, Orin Kerr comes up with the ideal career path for a Supreme Court Justice:
First, it would be very helpful for the candidate to have a science background, all the better a Ph.D. After she gets her Ph.D., she should spend a few years volunteering to help the poor to get a better sense of poverty in our society. She should then go to law school. After law school, she should clerk for a magistrate judge, a bankruptcy judge, a district court judge, a court of appeals judge, and a Supreme Court Justice. That way, the nominee will have a good sense of what it’s like at all stages of the federal court system.
The candidate should then have considerable practice experience. In particular, the candidate should spend at least 5 years at a large law firm, followed by 5 years as a solo practitioner. That way she’ll really understand legal practice. But that practice would be mostly civil law, and Supreme Court Justices also deal a lot with criminal law. The candidate should therefore get experience as a state prosecutor and then experience as a federal prosecutor. After that, the candidate should obtain experience in criminal defense, by spending a few years as public defender in the state system and a few years as a public defender in the federal system.
It goes on for a few more paragraphs, but you get the idea.