Clerking for Scrooge

31 Pages Posted: 17 Feb 2010 Last revised: 18 Sep 2017

Date Written: 2003


During the Supreme Court’s memorable October,1936 term, a young man named John Knox clerked for Justice James Clark McReynolds. Knox kept a diary during the term, and between 1952 and 1963 converted the diary into a 978-page memoir. Yet his own efforts to publish the memoir came to naught. In 1978 he deposited all or a portion of the manuscript at a series of libraries. But there it languished until rescued from obscurity by David Garrow and Dennis Hutchinson, who in 2002 published an edition of the manuscript with the University of Chicago Press. This essay reviews Knox’s remarkable memoir of the events of that year, situating Knox’s experience with McReynolds in the larger context of the evolving institution of the judicial clerkship and its relationship to the construction of judicial reputation.

Keywords: John Knox, Justice McReynolds, clerkship, New Deal, Hughes Court

Suggested Citation

Cushman, Barry, Clerking for Scrooge (2003). University of Chicago Law Review, Vol. 70, 2003, Notre Dame Legal Studies Paper No. 1315, Available at SSRN:

Barry Cushman (Contact Author)

Notre Dame Law School ( email )

P.O. Box 780
Notre Dame, IN 46556-0780
United States

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