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U.S. Supreme Court building. U.S. Supreme Court building. (Photo: Diego M. Radzinschi/ALM)

On April 24, 2009, U. S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia was not pulling any punches. Fielding questions from an audience of American University law students, he was asked whether it was likely that the law school’s students would be able to secure a clerkship at the nation’s highest court. His answer was characteristically blunt—not likely.

“By and large,” Scalia observed, “I’m going to be picking from the law schools that basically are the hardest to get into. They admit the best and the brightest, and they may not teach very well, but you can’t make a sow’s ear out of a silk purse. If they come in the best and the brightest, they’re probably going to leave the best and the brightest.”

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