Rachel Daley, a 2021 graduate of the University of Virginia Law School, will serve as Justice Neil Gorsuch’s clerk to the United States Supreme Court in the 2024 term.
Daley said she had admired Gorsuch since before law school and was honored to have the opportunity to clerk for him.
“I particularly admire the way Judge Gorsuch clearly and powerfully explains why respecting our constitutional structure is essential to protecting the rule of law and individual liberty,” she said. “His writings have significantly influenced my thinking on a whole range of fundamental legal issues, and it is truly an incredible honor to be chosen to serve as a jurist.”
The law school is fifth after Harvard, Yale, Stanford, and Chicago in placing clerks on the United States Supreme Court from 2007 to 2021. For the 2022 term, Michael Corcoran ’17 will serve as clerk to Justice Clarence Thomas and Henry Dickman ’20 will clerk for Judge Amy Coney Barrett.
Daley is currently clerk to Judge Amul R. Thapar of the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit for the 2022 term and formerly clerk to Judge Andrew Oldham of the Fifth Circuit. (Both are UVA law professors.)
She called Oldham and Thapar “brilliant judges and incredible mentors”.
“Among the many things they have in common, both take every exercise of judicial power, no matter how small, very seriously,” she added. “They are both very committed to getting the right answer every time, a quality that I greatly admire. It is a privilege to spend the first two years of my legal career learning from both of them.
Daley said she applies the lessons from her law classes at her externship every day, with civil procedure, federal courts and legislation – all taught by Professor Caleb Nelson – being the most influential.
“I very often find myself taking my outline from his lectures and coming back to those notes to figure out how to apply the law in a tricky case,” she added.
At UVA Law, Daley was a member of the editorial board of the Virginia Law Review, a semi-finalist in the William Minor Lile Moot Court competition, and a recipient of the Dean’s Fellowship. She was president of the Federalist Society when the organization was named the first consecutive recipient of the James Madison Award for National Student Chapter of the Year in 2021. Daley has also served as a research assistant to professors Aditya Bamzai and John Harrison, and has conducted independent research under the direction of Nelson and Professor Richard Re.
Daley said she learned how to write persuasive and clear arguments with the Appellate Litigation Clinic and Professor Scott Ballenger ’96, director of the clinic. She also thanks Professors Cynthia Nicoletti and Saikrishna Prakash, as well as Professor Emeritus Lillian R. BeVier for contributing to her success.
“Rachel is not only a deep thinker, but also someone who reasons with clarity and conviction,” said Re. of Supreme Court practice.”
Daley said she hopes to hone her skills as a Supreme Court lawyer and writer.
“I look forward to observing the plea in court and seeing how the cases progress from start to finish,” she said. “More than anything, however, I hope to serve well and contribute as much as I can during my year on court.”
Daley, a native of Buffalo Grove, Illinois, earned a bachelor’s degree from Rice University.
. Rachel Daley Clerk for Judge Supreme Court of the United States Neil Gorsuch