I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the role clerks play and how they influence the way cases are accepted and decided. Obviously they play a huge role in Cert. Pool (which Justices Stevens and Alito forgo) as well as writing the opinions once they are ready to be distributed.
In today’s order’s list (here), Justice Stevens dissents from a number of denials of cert. It seems likely that his rogue behavior has to do with the fact that he has his own clerks write briefs specifically targeted to him. Its relatively rare to see a Justice singled out as dissenting from a denial of cert. and it it should be noted that in today’s list he dissented from four separate denials.
With Justice Alito’s decision to remove himself from the cert. pool, the pool will grow less efficient and it will be interesting to see if his decision will influence future Justices.