Connecticut Judicial Branch
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Tim Holzman, Assistant Attorney General
Former Law Clerk, Hon. Raheem L. Mullins, 2019-2020
"I clerked for Justice Raheem Mullins from 2019-2020. Currently, I am an Assistant Attorney General in the Special Litigation Section of the CT Attorney General's office. My clerkship with Justice Mullins was one of the more rewarding experiences of my career. The position allows you to play a meaningful role in helping the Court work through new and complex legal questions, which provides invaluable insight into how to become a better advocate. You also build great relationships, both with the Judge you are clerking for and with your co-clerks, that you will take with you for the rest of your career."
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Nichole Rohr, Associate, Ropes and Gray
Former Law Clerk, Hon. Maria A. Kahn, 2019-2020
"As the highest court in the state, the Connecticut Supreme Court hears complex legal issues of first impression. Ranging from criminal to corporate and constitutional to common law, clerks are exposed to myriad issues, and hear arguments crafted by the best litigators in Connecticut. Cases for which the Connecticut Supreme Court grants certification do not have clear resolutions, and they have numerous legal and practical ramifications for people and businesses in the state. I found the cases to be incredibly interesting and some of my fondest memories are simply talking through the legal issues with Justice Kahn in her office or with the other term clerks over lunch."
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Colin Antaya, Associate, Koskoff, Koskoff and Bieder
"Clerking for Justice Ecker was the most fun, educational, and intellectually stimulating job I've had. I'm certain there is no better job for a recent law school graduate than clerking for the Connecticut Supreme Court. The legal issues are complex and fascinating, the Justices are brilliant and kind, and it's an honor to play a role in advancing justice in Connecticut."
Application Process for the 2024-2025 Court Year
Clerkship applications with the Connecticut Supreme Court should be emailed to: SCLawclerkApplication@connapp.jud.ct.gov. The email should list each justice to whom the applicant wishes to apply; applicants are encouraged to apply to as many justices as they desire.
The following materials must be submitted with your application for a clerkship with the Supreme Court:
Transcripts and letters of recommendation may be emailed separately from the other application materials.
- A cover letter;
- A resume;
- A certified transcript of all grades achieved in law school, including, if available, information about class standing. Unofficial transcripts will be accepted prior to the receipt of the applicant's final grades. Candidates are expected to submit updated transcripts to reflect changes, such as the issuance of new grades and class standing, that occur during the pendency of their clerkship application;
- A writing sample (e.g., brief, memorandum of law, draft judicial opinion, or scholarly piece such as a law journal note). Excerpts from more voluminous samples are welcome;
- At least two letters of recommendation. The letters may be from a faculty member with whom the student has studied, from a clerkship committee, or from a recent employer.
No application should be submitted before Monday, April 24, 2023. Interested persons are encouraged to apply as soon after that date as possible and are expected to supplement their applications with subsequently received grades, class standings and reference letters. All applications must be received no later than Friday, May 26, 2023, at 3:00 p.m.
The justices will review the applications and decide which candidates will be selected for a personal interview in Hartford at the applicant's expense. Interviews for Supreme Court clerkships will be scheduled by each individual justice, and selections will be made no later than Friday, June 16, 2023.
Candidates for clerkships should understand that although they are hired by individual justices, if such justice becomes unavailable due to illness, retirement, or elevation to another court, the clerk will be assigned to work for another justice during the term of their clerkship.
Law clerks generally perform research, write memoranda, review draft opinions, and assist in preparing preliminary draft opinions, but each Justice determines what tasks to assign to his or her law clerk.
Law Clerk Qualifications
Applicants should normally expect to graduate in the first quarter of their class and have demonstrated a substantial proficiency in legal research and writing. Law Review experience, or its equivalent, is highly desirable.
Applicants usually plan to take the Connecticut or other bar examinations during the month of July after they commence their clerkship. This practice is for the convenience of the law clerks. Law clerks are not required to be members of the Bar of Connecticut or any other state.
Each of the justices endorses the principle of affording equal employment opportunities to qualified applicants. It must be emphasized, however, that each justice, in selecting a law clerk, will be making an individual decision after weighing the credentials that are felt to be most relevant.
Salary and Benefits
The annual salary of each law clerk during the Court Year 2024-2025 is $72,818.81 to be paid semi-monthly. The term of service is for a period of twelve working months starting on Friday, May 31, 2024, and continuing until Friday, June 28, 2024. After their service in June, the new clerks will not report for work again until Tuesday, September 3, 2024. Law clerks may take four personal leave days with pay during their term of service and have a bank of twelve sick days. Otherwise, there are no paid vacation days. Employment will terminate on Thursday, July 31, 2025.
- Glover v. Bausch & Lomb, 343 Conn. 513 (2022)
- State v. Belcher, 342 Conn. 1 (2022)
- Casey v. Lamont, 338 Conn. 479 (2021)
- State v. Purcell, 331 Conn. 318 (2019)
- Soto v. Bushmaster Firearms International, LLC, 331 Conn. 53 (2019)
- Kerrigan v. Commissioner of Public Health, 289 Conn. 135 (2008)
Glover v. Bausch & Lomb, 343 Conn. 513 (2022)
The plaintiff Marjorie Glover underwent cataract surgeries in which her physician surgically implanted, in each eye, an artificial lens manufactured by the defendants. The plaintiff brought an action against the defendants in the United States District Court for the District of Connecticut claiming that the lenses caused damage to her eyes resulting in significant and permanent vision loss. The lawsuit alleged that the defendants had violated the Connecticut Product Liability Act (CPLA) by failing to warn her of the inherent dangers of the artificial lenses, and she later sought to amend her complaint to also claim that the defendants had violated the Connecticut Unfair Trade Practices Act (CUTPA) by engaging in deceptive advertising. The District Court dismissed the plaintiff's CPLA claims as preempted by federal law and also denied her motion to amend on preemption grounds. The plaintiff appealed to the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, which certified two questions to the Connecticut Supreme Court: (1) whether a cause of action existed under the CPLA based on a manufacturer's failure to report adverse events to a regulator like the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) following approval of the device and (2) whether the CPLA's exclusivity provision barred a claim under CUTPA based on deceptive marketing allegations. The Supreme Court answered both certified questions in the affirmative. The Supreme Court held, first, that the plaintiff's CPLA claims were not preempted by federal law where they were brought pursuant to a provision in the CPLA that requires manufacturers to provide warnings to the "person" in the best position to take or recommend precautions against harm to the ultimate user and the "person" in this case could be construed to be the FDA rather than a physician. Second, the Supreme Court held that the CPLA was intended to serve as the exclusive remedy for parties who seek recompense for personal injury due to a defective product, and that CUTPA claims that previously had been deemed to be not preempted by the CPLA had not sought damages for personal injury, as the plaintiff did here.
State v. Belcher, 342 Conn. 1 (2022)
In the 1990s, the defendant, Keith Belcher, was convicted of sexual assault, robbery in the first degree, and burglary committed when he was fourteen years old. He was sentenced to sixty years of incarceration by a trial court that relied on a theory that labeled certain teenagers as "superpredators." Juvenile law underwent significant developments thereafter, resulting in the recognition that children are different from adults for purposes of criminal sentencing, in particular with respect to the assessment of culpability and prospects for rehabilitation. In 2015, the defendant filed a motion to correct an illegal sentence, claiming (1) that the sentencing court had relied on materially false information, namely, the since discredited "superpredator" theory, and (2) that his sentence was unconstitutional because it failed to take into consideration the foregoing developments in juvenile sentencing. The trial court denied the motion. The Supreme Court reversed the trial court's judgment and remanded the case for resentencing. The Supreme Court concluded in relevant part that the defendant's sentence had been imposed in an illegal manner and in violation of his due process rights because the "superpredator" theory on which the sentencing court had substantially relied was based on dehumanizing racial stereotypes that had perpetuated systemic racial inequalities in the criminal justice system, and could not be reconciled with the developments in juvenile law recognizing the defining characteristics of youth as mitigating and not aggravating factors.
Casey v. Lamont, 338 Conn. 479 (2021)
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Governor Lamont declared a public health emergency and a civil preparedness emergency pursuant to General Statutes §§ 19a-131a and 28-9 and issued a series of executive orders which, among other things, severely restricted the operations of bars and restaurants. The plaintiffs in this case, who owned an establishment known as Casey's Irish Pub, claimed that they were forced to close the pub because the executive orders made it financially impossible to continue in operation. They commenced an action against Governor Lamont requesting a declaration that he acted without statutory or constitutional authority when he issued the orders and that § 28-9 constitutes an unconstitutional delegation of powers from the legislature to the governor. The trial court rendered judgment in favor of Governor Lamont, and the Chief Justice granted the plaintiffs' application for certification to appeal pursuant to General Statutes § 52-265a. The Supreme Court concluded that the executive orders were a permissible exercise of gubernatorial authority because the COVID-19 pandemic was a "serious disaster" under § 28-9. The court also concluded that the authority delegated to the governor by § 28-9 was neither standardless nor limitless and was not an unconstitutional delegation of legislative authority.
State v. Purcell, 331 Conn. 318 (2019)
The defendant, Robert John Purcell, was charged with sexual assault and risk of injury to a child. He filed a motion to suppress certain statements that he had made during a police interrogation, claiming that the statements had been elicited after he invoked his right to have counsel present, in violation of Miranda v. Arizona, 384 U.S. 436, 496–73 (1966), and the due process provisions of the Connecticut constitution. The trial court denied the motion, and the Appellate Court affirmed that ruling. The Supreme Court concluded that the defendant's ambiguous statements referring to his lawyer during the interrogation did not constitute a clear and unequivocal invocation of his right to counsel and, therefore, the police were not required to stop the interrogation under the federal constitution. The court further concluded, however, that the Connecticut constitution requires more than the federal constitution in this regard; if a suspect makes an equivocal statement that can be construed as a request for counsel, the state constitution requires police to stop the interrogation and clarify whether the suspect desires counsel. Applying that standard to the defendant's statements, the court concluded that the police should have stopped the interrogation, and the trial court improperly had denied the defendant's motion to suppress.
Soto v. Bushmaster Firearms International, LLC, 331 Conn. 53 (2019)
This case arose from the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown on December 14, 2012, during which Adam Lanza used a Bushmaster SM15-E2s semiautomatic rifle that his mother had purchased to kill twenty first grade children and six staff members and to wound two additional staff members. The plaintiffs, administrators of the estates of nine of the decedents, brought an action contending that the manufacturers, distributors, and retailers of the rifle should be held liable for the wrongful deaths of the victims under the theories that: (1) the defendants negligently entrusted to civilian consumers an assault rifle that is suitable for use only by military and law enforcement personnel; and (2) the defendants violated the Connecticut Unfair Trade Practices Act (CUTPA) through the sale and/or wrongful marketing of the rifle. The defendants contended that the claims were preempted by a federal statute, the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act. A majority of the court concluded that the plaintiff's claim did not give rise to a claim for negligent entrustment and was time barred under CUTPA. The majority further concluded, however, that the plaintiffs' claim that the marketing of the rifle to promote its use in an illegal offensive manner constituted a viable CUTPA claim and was not preempted by the federal statute. The dissenting opinion contended that the plaintiff's CUTPA claim regarding the marketing of the rifle was preempted.
Kerrigan v. Commissioner of Public Health, 289 Conn. 135 (2008)
In 2004, eight same sex couples who were denied marriage licenses by the town of Madison commenced an action claiming that the then-existing state statutory prohibition against same sex marriage violated their rights to substantive due process and equal protection under the Connecticut constitution. The trial court concluded on summary judgment that the plaintiffs had not established a constitutionally cognizable harm because the applicable statutes afforded the plaintiffs the right to enter into a civil union, which afforded the same legal rights as marriage. The Supreme Court reversed the trial court's judgment, holding (1) that the plaintiffs had established legally cognizable injury where the classification created by the civil union law implicated the history of invidious discrimination against gay persons; (2) that, as a matter of first impression, sexual orientation was a quasi-suspect classification and that laws discriminating against gay persons were subject to intermediate scrutiny under the Connecticut constitution; and (3) that the prohibition on same sex marriage was not substantially related to the achievement of any important governmental objectives and violated the equal protection clauses of the Connecticut constitution. The three dissenting opinions relied on a variety of arguments, including that the prohibition against same sex marriage was subject to rational basis review; that the equal protection clauses of the Connecticut constitution were not implicated because same sex couples were not similarly situated as opposite sex couples in that they were not capable of procreative sexual conduct; and that the legislature had been rationally addressing the issue of same sex marriage incrementally and the marriage laws were rationally related to the legitimate interest in promoting and regulating procreative conduct.
History of the Connecticut Supreme Court
Prior to the creation of the Supreme Court in 1784, the power to review lower court rulings was vested in the General Assembly, which determined appeals by examining trial court records. Even after its creation, the Supreme Court was not completely independent of the executive and legislative branches, since its members included the Lieutenant Governor, members of the Council (or upper chamber of the General Assembly), and, in 1794, the Governor.
In 1806, the number of Superior Court judges was increased from five to nine and those judges, sitting together, constituted the Supreme Court, replacing the Governor, Lieutenant Governor and Council Members. The General Assembly, however, retained the power to overturn the court's rulings. Twelve years later, in 1818, the Connecticut Constitution established an independent judiciary, with the Supreme Court of Errors as the state's highest court. (The words "of Errors" were deleted in 1965). The creation of an independent judiciary established the third branch of government, which is responsible for interpreting the laws enacted by the legislative branch of government.
In 1982, in response to an overwhelming Supreme Court docket, Connecticut's voters approved a constitutional amendment creating the intermediate Appellate Court. That court, which consists of nine judges, sits at 75 Elm Street in Hartford.