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95 Nw. U. L. Rev. 271 (2000-2001)
The Clerk, the Thief, His Life as a Baker: Ashton Embry and the Supreme Court Leak Scandal of 1919

handle is hein.journals/illlr95 and id is 281 raw text is: Copyright 2000 by Norhwestr University Scbool of Law                       Pn-ud h USA.
Northuestm University Law Reiew                                           VCt 95. NaI
THE CLERK, THE THIEF, HIS LIFE AS A BAKER:
ASHTON EMBRY AND THE SUPREME COURT
LEAK SCANDAL OF 1919
John B. Owens
In Brad Meltzer's novel The Tenth Justice, young Supreme Court law
clerk Ben Addison accidentally leaks an upcoming decision to a devious
con man who makes millions on Wall Street with the inside information.
Addison spends the rest of the book trying to catch the con man without
losing his cherished clerkship, and ultimately, his life.' A success even be-
fore it hit the shelves, The Tenth Justice debuted on the New York Times
bestseller list and was optioned to Dick Clark's movie production com-
pany.2 When asked how he developed his intriguing clerk leak scenario,
Meltzer explained that soon after he came up with the rough plot, he ran it
by a Supreme Court clerk. Her response? The scariest thing is, The Tenth
Justice can happen.3
But the novel's plot is not so novel-it may already have happened.
Associate, O'Melveny & Myers. A.B. 1993, University of California at Berkeley; J.D. 1996, Stan-
ford Law School. The author clerked for Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg at the Supreme Court of the
United States during the October 1997 Term. He thanks Jennifer Arlen, Samuel Bagenstos, Joseph
Bankman, William Cohen, Walter Dellinger, Ashton Embry, Louis Fine, George Fisher, David Garrow,
Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Gerald Gunther, Jonathan Hacker, Heller Halliday, Dennis Hutchinson,
Patricia McCabe, Paul Mishkin, Chester Newland, John Pearce, Majorie D. Purcell, Chief Justice Wil-
liam H. Rehnquist, Tina Thomasson, and Matthew Weir for their advice and assistance. He also thanks
Robert Ellis and especially Fred Romanski for navigating him through the vast depths of the National
Archives. The views (and any errors) enclosed are solely the author's. Finally, he thanks the North-
western Universi y Law Review for its excellent work.
A note on the citation format Materials from the National Archives begin with RG, their record
group number.
' See BRAD MELiZER, THE TENTH JusTICE (1997). For a review of The Tenth Justice and other recent
novels featuring Supreme Court law clerks, see John B. Owens, The Simple Truth about 9 Scorpions and
The Tenth Justice: Supreme Court Law Clerks in Legal Suspense lovels, 88 CAL L REV. 233 (2000).
2 Before Meltzer had completed his first draft, Dick Clark purchased the movie rights. See Michael
Kenney, This Lmsyer's Career Is One for the Movies, BOSTON GLOBE, OcL 29, 1996, at El; Paul Na-
than, Too Late: Film Rights to Novelist Brad Mdtzer's 'The 10th Justice' Optloncd Months Ago b), Dick
Clark, PUB. WKLY., June 3, 1996, at 37. 77Te Tenth Justice debuted at number eight on the New York
Times bestseller list. See Michael Colton, Brad Meltzer's Wining Argument: A Freshl)' Minted Law
School Grad Makes the Bestseller List with a Tale of 'Justice, * WASH. POST, Aug. 1, 1997, at B 1.
3 Interview by Matt Lauer with Brad Meltzer, Today Show, (NBC Television Broadcast, May 14,
1997), available at LEXIS, News Library, NBC News.

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