As expected, new Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor has joined the Court's so-called cert pool, at least for now.
Court public information officer Kathy Arberg confirmed that Sotomayor is participating in the controversial pooling arrangement, whereby the thousands of incoming certiorari petitions are divvied up among the clerks of the justices who participate. Each petition is read by one of the pool clerks, who writes a memo recommending whether to grant review. The memo is then distributed to the justices in the pool, with the memo often constituting the only morsel of information about the case that the justices read before deciding whether to grant or deny cert.
Because of the pivotal role the pool memo plays, the cert pool has been criticized for giving individual clerks have too much power in the all-important gatekeeping function. The pool, aimed at streamlining the petition review process, was first instituted in 1972.