Tom Goldstein

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Tom Goldstein : biography

Thomas C. Goldstein, known as simply Tom Goldstein, is an American attorney famous as an advocate before and blogger about the Supreme Court of the United States. He was a founding partner of Goldstein and Howe (now Goldstein & Russell), a Washington, D.C. firm specializing in Supreme Court litigation, and was, until the end of 2010, a partner at Akin Gump, where he was co-head of the litigation and Supreme Court practices. He has since returned to his previous firm. In 2003, he co-founded SCOTUSblog, the most widely read blog covering the Supreme Court, and remains the publisher and occasional contributor, providing analyses and summaries of Supreme Court decisions and cert petitions. Tom teaches Supreme Court Litigation at Harvard Law School and previously taught at Stanford Law School as well from 2004-2012.

Supreme Court practice

Over the past fifteen years, Goldstein has served as one of the lawyers for one of the parties in just under 10% of the cases argued before the Supreme Court. Goldstein has argued 28 cases himself.

Notably, Goldstein served as second chair for Laurence Tribe and David Boies on behalf of Vice President Al Gore in Bush v. Gore. He also served as second chair for Laurence Tribe on New York Times Co. v. Tasini (decided in 2001).

"The Hustler," an April 2006 article by Noam Scheiber in The New Republic,Noam Scheiber, The New Republic, 2006-04-10. asserts that Goldstein has had an out-sized impact on the Supreme Court – going so far as to suggest the Court was the "Goldstein Court", a phraseology usually reserved for the Chief Justice of the United States during a particular period (e.g. "Roberts Court", "Rehnquist Court", "Taft Court") – but there is no empirical data to support that claim.

The article focuses on the practice pioneered by Goldstein of identifying and pursuing cases that are likely to be reviewed by the Supreme Court. At the time, the practice was extremely controversial and analogized to ambulance chasing by established members of the bar, including by now-Chief Justice John Roberts, who quipped about contacting the lawyers in cases that if you needed a heart-surgeon, you would not pick the one who called you out of the blue. The practice has since become commonplace among almost all law firm Supreme Court practices and the several Supreme Court litigation clinics in law schools.

Teaching appointments

Tom teaches Supreme Court Litigation at Harvard Law School, and previously taught at Stanford Law School as well from 2004-2012.


Goldstein founded the most widely read blog covering the Supreme Court, the SCOTUSblog. In 2013, SCOTUSblog received the Peabody Award for excellence in electronic media. It is the first blog to ever receive the Peabody. It also won the 2013 Society of Professional Journalists (Sigma Delta Chi) prize for deadline reporting for its coverage of the Supreme Court’s healthcare ruling. It serves as a constantly updated site for information and news about the Supreme Court — the submissions of new petitions, decisions concerning certiorari, decisions concerning stays of lower court decisions — particularly executions, oral arguments, and final decisions in all cases. In 2010, SCOTUSblog became the only weblog to receive the American Bar Association’s Silver Gavel Award for fostering public understanding of the law. While generally regarded as objective, the blog (and Goldstein) on occasion is the subject of criticism from commentators on both the left (such as Glenn Greenwald) and the right (such as Ed Whelan).

Personal life, hobbies

Goldstein is married to Amy Howe, with whom he co-founded the firm now named Goldstein & Russell, P.C. Goldstein lives in Washington, D.C.


He earned his J.D. from American University’s Washington College of Law and his A.B. in Political Science from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Media and professional recognition

Among Goldstein’s recognitions are: one of the 100 most influential lawyers in the nation (National Law Journal 2006 and 2013); one of the 40 most influential lawyers of the decade (National Law Journal); and one of the 90 Greatest Washington Lawyers of the Last 30 Years (Legal Times).