Published on: Monday, November 15, 2021

Leaders of the House Judiciary Committee have asked U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts to open an investigation into the Eleventh Circuit chief judge’s and a federal district judge recent hiring of a law clerk with “a history of nakedly racist and hateful conduct” (article available here). 

The lawmakers in a letter called the clerk's past conduct "alarming" and  requested a briefing on the matter by December 1.

The letter followed reports last month that a judge on the Eleventh U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals had picked Crystal Clanton, a law student at George Mason University's Antonin Scalia Law School, for a prestigious clerkship starting in 2023. Upon graduation, Clanton will first clerk for a  U.S. District Judge in Birmingham, Alabama.

The controversy over Clanton's hiring stemmed from her time as the national field director for the conservative student group Turning Point USA. In a New Yorker story in 2017 examining how the group was struggling with allegations of racial bias, journalist Jane Mayer reported that Clanton had sent a text message to a colleague stating "I HATE BLACK PEOPLE," and had engaged in other racist conduct.

Clanton told the New Yorker in 2017 that she had no recollection of the messages and that they "do not reflect what I believe or who I am."