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About the Fellowships

The Supreme Court Fellows Program, founded in 1973, offers mid-career professionals, recent law school graduates, and doctoral degree holders from the law and political science fields an opportunity to broaden their understanding of the judicial system through exposure to federal court administration.

The Supreme Court Fellows Commission selects four talented individuals to work for one of four federal judiciary agencies for a year-long appointment in Washington, D.C.:

All Fellows gain practical experience in judicial administration, policy development, and education. They also benefit from time to study and write, and a vantage point from which to develop an academic research agenda.

The Fellowship Experience

In addition to substantive responsibilities, Fellows engage in a variety of special enrichment activities:

  • A Supreme Court Preview conference at a law school in September to learn about cases for the upcoming Term.
  • Gallery seating at Supreme Court oral argument and non-argument sessions.
  • Luncheon seminars sponsored by the Counselor to the Chief Justice, featuring speakers such as the Solicitor General, the Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution, and the White House Counsel.
  • Meetings with various jurists and senior judicial administrators.
  • Supreme Court Historical Society events, including an annual lecture series on Supreme Court history presented by distinguished scholars.
  • Other programs hosted by the judiciary, the Smithsonian, and various government and non-profit institutions.

Research Opportunities

The Program requires each Fellow to produce during the year a publishable-quality work of scholarship on a topic relevant to the agency placement. Fellows present their works in progress at a winter research workshop attended by senior judicial administrators held at the Supreme Court. In the spring, each Fellow presents his or her research paper to a group of federal judges meeting as a committee of the Judicial Conference.

Explore the Nation’s Capital

The Program encourages Fellows to maximize their experience by collaborating with one another and seeking out educational and cultural events tailored to their interests.

Fellows report that the collegial experience creates bonds and professional friendships that continue throughout their careers.

Compensation and Other Details

The Supreme Court fellowship is a one-year appointment that begins in late August or early September. Exact start and end dates are subject to mutual agreement between each Fellow and the Program.

Fellows become employees of the federal courts and receive salaries equivalent to GS-13/1 of the government pay scale at the applicable locality rate — currently $112,015. Fellows are eligible for health insurance, life insurance, and other benefits offered to federal employees.

The Supreme Court Fellows Program is a residential fellowship, in that fellows are required to be in residence full time in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area.


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