Nicole Frazer '15 to Clerk for U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia

Nicole Frazer

Before her term with Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia begins, Nicole Frazer '15 is clerking for Judge Jeffrey Sutton of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit in Columbus, Ohio.

July 22, 2015

Nicole Frazer, a 2015 University of Virginia School of Law graduate, will clerk for U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia during the 2016-17 term.

Virginia is fourth in contributing the most clerks to the U.S. Supreme Court from 2005-15, after Harvard, Stanford and Yale. (More) The nine justices hire 36 clerks each year, and four UVA Law graduates will be joining the court in the 2015-16 term.

"I am thrilled to have been given such a significant opportunity this early on in my legal career," Frazer said. "When you have an opportunity like this, you realize how many different people have invested in you and helped you get where you are. It was incredibly exciting to share the good news with family and friends, but it was also immensely rewarding to tell the professors who have invested in me and paved the way for this accomplishment.

"I've had so many fantastic professors here, as well as UVA Law alumni and past clerks, who helped me through the entire process. I'm enormously grateful for that," she added.

Frazer is currently clerking for a year with Judge Jeffrey Sutton of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit in Columbus, Ohio.

She says her interest in pursuing law stemmed from her longstanding enjoyment of writing and analysis, which was piqued in part by participating in moot court and mock trial as an undergraduate.

At the Law School, Frazer was a research assistant to Professor A. E. Dick Howard , himself a former Supreme Court law clerk (for Justice Hugo L. Black).

"Nicole was uncommonly helpful to me as I shaped a law review article on how the Supreme Court has changed since the days of Earl Warren," Howard said. "She is blessed with a first-class mind, a flair for research and analysis, and an impressive talent for presenting her findings. Her scholarship would do justice to a seasoned scholar. Justice Scalia will quickly discover what a good decision he has made in bringing her on board."

Frazer said she is looking forward to working for Scalia, one of the most influential justices in the court's history.

"It will be a fantastic opportunity to hone my legal writing and thinking under the tutelage of a justice who has put so much serious thought into and shaped the development of such a broad range of legal issues," Frazer said.

To prepare for the interview, Frazer said she read hundreds of Scalia's opinions and reviewed a wide variety of areas of constitutional and statutory law. She also reached out to professors and got in touch with UVA Law alums who had clerked for Scalia.

During her first-year summer, Frazer worked on appellate cases pertaining to the Affordable Care Act and Environmental Protection Agency as a summer clerk for the Indiana solicitor general.

The next summer, she was with Sidley Austin in Washington, D.C. There she did a mix of appellate and general litigation work as a summer associate.

While in law school, Frazer authored a note under the supervision of Professor Caleb Nelson , "Reassessing the Doctrine of Judicial Estoppel: The Implications of the Judicial Integrity Rationale," which is slated for publication in the September 2015 issue of the Virginia Law Review. She also authored a paper examining the relationship between Korean legal reform and the end of gendercide in Korea, which she said she hopes to submit for publication in the fall.

"Nicole's note is a superb piece of scholarship — carefully researched and closely reasoned," Nelson said, "and that's characteristic of all her work in law school.

"She's also a great person — really smart, but grounded and humble. I'm thrilled that she's getting the opportunity to clerk for Judge Sutton and Justice Scalia, and I know that she'll do a tremendous job," Nelson said. In addition to Howard, Frazer also worked as a research assistant for Professor Saikrishna Prakash.

"Nicole is the complete package," Prakash said. "She's an excellent writer, a tremendous research assistant, a top-notch student and a marvelous person. She excelled in the classroom and was immensely helpful on several research projects.."

Frazer said she benefited from UVA Law professors' dedication to teaching.

"They're genuinely concerned about their students excelling both in the classroom and in their careers," she said. "The faculty aided me with my clerkship applications and the school provided incredible institutional support — from helping me work out answers to difficult legal questions to holding mock interviews to help me prepare for the real one with the justice and his clerks."

Frazer has served as an articles development editor for the Virginia Law Review. She credits engaging with legal scholarship and going through roughly 3,000 annual submissions with helping her gain confidence in her own legal writing and analysis. As part of her role with the student organization Virginia Law Women, she mentored first-year law students. Frazer was also a member of the Law School's Supreme Court Litigation Clinic , the Federalist Society and Law Christian Fellowship.

Frazer earned her undergraduate degree in government with an international relations emphasis from Patrick Henry College in Purcellville, Virginia. She is also a professional disc golfer, having won the amateur women's world championship in 2006 and having finished third in the professional women's world championship in 2009.

After her clerkship, Frazer said she plans to go into private practice in the Washington, D.C., area. One day, she hopes to work in the Office of Legal Counsel or the U.S. Solicitor General's Office at the Justice Department.

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