But Suter, speaking to a small group on May 24 at South Texas College of Law in Houston, said his book won’t be a gossipy, secrets-revealing book like “The Brethren: Inside the Supreme Court,” the 1979 book written by Bob Woodward and Scott Armstrong.
“It won’t be the book you want to read,” Suter said during the hour-long “Suter & Guter: An Informal Chat” with South Texas Dean Donald J. Guter.
Suter, who took the job as clerk in 1991 after retiring from the U.S. Army, plans to retire from the court on Aug. 31. While in the army, he was acting Judge Advocate General.
Suter took a number of questions from the audience, but diplomatically avoided much discussion of sitting Supreme Court justices. When asked to identify the justice who most impressed him, Suter talked about a judge who preceded his tenure, Louis Powell.
But Suter wasn’t coy when asked to identify some of the lawyers who most impressed him during oral arguments before the court. Suter said he could easily make a list of 10 to 15 lawyers. However, he said these four former U.S. Solicitor Generals are among the really, really good:
• Seth Waxman, a partner in Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr in Washington, D.C.
• Ken Starr, president of Baylor University in Waco
• Ted Olson, a partner in Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher in Washington, D.C.
• Paul Clement, a partner in Bancroft in Washington, D.C.
Suter said the court is “misunderstood as a political entity.” He noted that 40 percent of the Supreme Court opinions are unanimous, and 63 percent are unanimous or agreed to with an 8-1 vote.
Suter was in Houston to speak at the STCL commencement on May 25. He said he has memories of an earlier visit in 1968, when he came to the law school on a recruiting trip for the U.S. Army. He reported that he “snagged a few” law students at that time for the JAG corps.
--- Brenda Sapino Jeffreys