The U.S. Supreme Court Fellows Program: The Opportunity of a Lifetime

Vol. 53 No. 1

S.I. Strong is an associate professor of law at the University of Missouri. She was a Supreme Court Fellow with the International Judicial Relations Office of the Federal Judicial Center during the 2012–13 Fellowship year. She can be reached at

Last year, the U.S. Supreme Court Fellows program marked its 40th anniversary with a gala awards dinner at the Court. Although the event was attended by many of the judges, academics, policy experts, and public servants that have spent time as Fellows, news of the celebration did not make it into mainstream media reports because the program, like the Court itself, is as discreet as it is prestigious.

One reason why the Supreme Court Fellowship is one of the best-kept secrets in Washington, D.C., is its size. Unlike the White House Fellows program, which invites 12 people to join its ranks each year, and the Congressional Fellows program, which has over 30 participants annually, the Supreme Court accepts only four extremely talented individuals into its Fellows program each year. Every fall, these fortunate few begin a 12-month journey that offers them an unparalleled opportunity to observe and participate in the work of the federal judiciary at the highest levels.


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