According to Gordon Smith at Conglomerate, another law professor relayed the following anecdote to a friend about to enter the legal teaching market:
at the preliminary screening level it's often the case that strong opposition from one member of the Appointments Committee is enough to knock you out. I know of a case where one extremely strong candidate didn't get a call-back at a lower-tier school because one member of the Appointments committee said that she simply couldn't even consider hiring someone who'd worked for Justice Thomas.I am aware of a virtually identical incident — I wonder if it is the same one? [Update: I've since confirmed that these anecdotes are from two different schools.]
Thankfully, many (most?) schools do not have influential faculty members who share this view. As a result, the legal academy is sprinkled with many former Thomas clerks, including (but not limited to) Nicole Garnett (Notre Dame), Jim Chen (Minnesota), John Yoo (Berkeley), Michael O'Neill (GMU), Stephen Smith (Virginia), John Eastman (Chapman), Gregory Maggs (George Washington), Sai Prakash (USD), and Allison Eid (Colorado). (Apologies to those I left off the list. I compiled this list quickly from memory.)
(Hat tip: Althouse)
UPDATE: A reader notes that the University of Georgia had a similar controversy when a determined minority on the faculty blocked the appointment of two former Supreme Court clerks on ideological grounds. The incident, and other controversies at Georgia, were covered here. [Note: In comments below, Peter Appell reports that Georgia made no offers the year of the aforementioned controversy, but subsequently made an offer to another Thomas clerk, David Stras, who now teaches at Minnesota.]
ANOTHER UPDATE: Tom Smith adds some thoughts here.