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The U.S. Supreme Court justices hand-pick four clerks each every year for what’s arguably the most prestigious legal gig out there.High court clerks write “bench memos” to fill their justices in on a particular case, discuss cases with them, and even draft opinions that interpret the law for the entire country.
It’s a serious job.
But perhaps the most intense part of clerking for the high court involved death penalty cases, former Supreme Court clerk Jay Wexler told Business Insider.
However, Wexler worked day and night whenever it was his turn to review last-minute petitions to halt executions and brief Ginsburg, he told BI.
“The death penalty cases are the ones that keep you in the building the whole day, the whole night,” Wexler said. “The death penalty cases go down to the wire all the time.”
The Supreme Court grants a tiny fraction of the petitions it receives to stop executions.
“It’s very, very hard to get an execution stopped at the end, but you have to read the arguments,” he said.
Ginsburg herself has hinted that reviewing death penalty cases is the most painful part of her job, SF Gate reported in September 2011.
While she hasn’t gone as far as to call the death penalty unconstitutional, she told a group of law students that reviewing impending executions was a “dreadful part of the business.”
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