Oh, Crystal Clanton! I just can’t quit you!
The saga of Clanton’s burgeoning legal career continues to enthrall. Back in January, the Judicial Council of the Second Circuit found that Judge Corey Maze of the Northern District of Alabama and Eleventh Circuit Judge William Pryor did not commit judicial misconduct when they hired Clanton as a law clerk.
Now, why would the hiring of a law clerk spur a judicial misconduct investigation, you ask?
Well, Clanton used to work at conservative student group Turning Point USA. But then in 2017, reports surfaced that she texted co-workers, “I HATE BLACK PEOPLE. Like fuck them all . . . I hate blacks. End of story.” And, just like that, she was out at Turning Point USA. There were more reports of bigoted comments from Clanton, but she managed to bounce back with a job with Ginni Thomas (Clarence’s wife). She then was admitted to ASSLaw — otherwise known as George Mason University’s Antonin Scalia Law School, for the uninitiated — and her post-grad plan included the aforementioned clerkships.
But even after the Second Circuit gave the hiring decisions the all-clear, Democrats on the House of Representatives Judiciary Committee weren’t satisfied and urged another look. As reported by Reuters, a seven-member panel of federal judges found it was wrong to clear Maze and Pryor of misconduct without first establishing a special committee to look into the allegations.
The 2nd Circuit’s order had upheld an earlier decision by Chief 2nd U.S. Circuit Judge Debra Ann Livingston, who rather than setting up such a committee concluded by herself there was insufficient evidence to support a misconduct finding.
The matter was referred back to the Second Circuit for the appointment of a special committee.
While Maze and Pryor have not offered a statement on the latest development, according to the Second Circuit’s determination, the judges were aware of the media reports and allegations but they reviewed Clanton’s transcript and spoke with references and determined that the allegations were not true. Oh, and they noted they abhor racism, in case that wasn’t clear.
Kathryn Rubino is a Senior Editor at Above the Law, host of The Jabot podcast, and co-host of Thinking Like A Lawyer. AtL tipsters are the best, so please connect with her. Feel free to email her with any tips, questions, or comments and follow her on Twitter (@Kathryn1).