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The Supreme Court has quietly shattered a glass ceiling by appointing the first female special master in the Court’s history. She’s Kristin Linsley Myles of San Francisco, a litigation partner in the firm Munger, Tolles & Olson and a former law clerk to Justice Antonin Scalia. She was named special master in the case of South Carolina v. North Carolina. The case belongs to that little-known category of cases involving disputes between states, in which the dispute goes to the Supreme Court first, not last, and without the fact-finding or review of any lower court. As a result, the Court appoints a special master to review facts, hear testimony, and report to the Court with recommendations, which the justices accept, reject, or modify. It’s an important but not high-profile job that used to go primarily to retired or senior federal judges. But with more senior judges taking on heavy caseloads in their courts, the high court has turned to private attorneys or law professors — all male, until now. South Carolina Attorney General Henry McMaster filed the complaint now before the Court. He asserts that North Carolina is taking more than its fair share of water from the Catawba River, which begins in North Carolina and flows into South Carolina. The river, he says, is essential to economic development, recreation, and hydroelectric power in his state.
Tony Mauro can be contacted at [email protected].

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