Douglas Hires a Woman to Clerk
2020 Green Bag Almanac and Reader 297–310 (2020)
16 Pages Posted: 29 Oct 2020
Date Written: August 2020
The editors of the 2020 Green Bag Almanac and Reader mined Justices' papers held by the Library of Congress for handwritten documents to feature and invited essays about each one. This essay is a gloss on Vern Countryman's letter to Justice William O. Douglas (Jan. 12, 1944) recommending a law student from the University of Washington to serve as a clerk. The law student was Lucile Lomen, who became the first woman to clerk for a Supreme Court Justice. The essay offers biographical tidbits and historical context—including Lomen's childhood in Nome and Seattle life during World War II. Along with shipbuilding and troop movements, the Seattle experience included the internment of Japanese Americans (Gordon Hirabayashi was a student at the UW at the same time Countryman and Lomen were there), an issue that went East to the Supreme Court, as the young clerks did. As a Seattleite whose parents were born the same year as Lomen, I also weave in some personal history.
The PDF includes Countryman's letter as well as my essay.
Keywords: Supreme Court, Clerkships, Legal Profession
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation