SCOTUSblog founder gives up Supreme Court practice at 52, cites difficulty fighting for 'the little guy'

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Tom Goldstein

SCOTUSblog co-founder Tom Goldstein is retiring from Supreme Court practice. Photo by Alex Brandon/The Associated Press.

SCOTUSblog founder Tom Goldstein is retiring from his U.S. Supreme Court practice and his law firm, citing the increasingly conservative balance of the court as one of the reasons.

The U.S. Supreme Court has changed so much from 1999, when he started his Supreme Court practice that there’s “very little that an advocate for the little guy can hope to accomplish anymore,” Goldstein, 52, told Bloomberg Law.

“Once it got to a six-member supermajority, so that even if you could find the path to picking up a conservative vote, you were still going to lose, it was just a very, very different ball game,” he said.

Goldstein made similar comments to Reuters.

Goldstein will continue to publish the blog that he co-founded, SCOTUSblog, which features reporting by his wife, Amy Howe, who’s also a co-founder. He also wants to pursue business opportunities because “I’m an entrepreneur at heart,” he told Reuters.

Tom Goldstein and Amy HoweSCOTUSblog founders Tom Goldstein and Amy Howe in May 2013. Photo by Anders Krusberg, CC-BY-2.0, via Wikimedia Commons.

Goldstein built his Supreme Court practice by looking for circuit splits, calling the losing attorney and offering in some cases to handle the work for free, according to Tejinder Singh, who worked with Goldstein for about 12 years. Goldstein managed to build his practice, even though he didn’t have traditional credentials, such as an Ivy League education or a Supreme Court clerkship, Singh told Bloomberg Law.

Goldstein is also a “formidable” poker player who once won $100,000 in an 18-hour game at the Bellagio, according to past ABA Journal coverage.

Despite leaving his firm, Goldstein & Russell, Goldstein plans to continue representing Epic Games Inc., a maker of the Fortnite video game, in an antitrust suit challenging the rules of app stores run by Google and Apple, according to Reuters.

Goldstein’s firm is being renamed Goldstein, Russell & Woofter.

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