SCOTUS

In 2010, music superstar Lady Gaga earned an estimated $64 million. Meanwhile, legal superstar Lady Kaga — aka Justice Elena Kagan, of the United States Supreme Court — earned considerably less.

For the part of 2010, the Divine Miss K served as Solicitor General, earning an annual salary of $165,300. After her confirmation as an associate justice of the Supreme Court, she got a raise, to $213,900 a year — a healthy income, but less than the base salary of a fifth-year associate in a law firm (or the total compensation in 2010, bonus included, of a fourth-year associate). Her income as a justice is also much less than her salary of $437,299 as Harvard Law School dean.

Still, even though Justice Kagan might not be filthy rich, she has done well for herself. At the time of her nomination to SCOTUS, she reported a net worth of around $1.8 million. Given this rosy financial picture, as well as her six-figure income and great job security — it’s rare for a federal judge to be impeached, Judge Porteous notwithstanding — it’s not surprising that Her Honor was recently spotted checking out some pretty pricey D.C. digs.

Where was she looking? And what seems to be her homebuying budget?

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This is why we shouldn’t let people under the age of 18 speak in public. Ever.

The new Miss America, Teresa Scanlan, is just 17 years old. Why we live in a society that regularly parades minors out in public to be ogled (whether for their beauty or dunking prowess or whatever) is a subject for another blog post.

As you know, beauty pageant winners are often asked about their life ambitions — as if staying “off the pole” wouldn’t be a major accomplishment in itself. Scanlan’s ambitions are particularly funny, more like the stuff you’d expect to hear from a 7-year-old girl instead of a young woman of 17.

Under normal circumstances, the public wouldn’t be a party to these particular ramblings. But since her parents decided to allow Scanlan to be thrust into the public spotlight, everybody gets to chuckle…

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I think [New York pizza] is infinitely better than Washington pizza, and infinitely better than Chicago pizza. You know these deep-dish pizzas — it’s not pizza. It’s very good, but … call it tomato pie or something. … I’m a traditionalist, what can I tell you?

— Justice Antonin Scalia, in an interview with California Lawyer magazine (via Josh Blackman, who identifies additional highlights from the interview).


Over many years, however, a persistent problem has developed in the process of filling judicial vacancies. Each political party has found it easy to turn on a dime from decrying to defending the blocking of judicial nominations, depending on their changing political fortunes. This has created acute difficulties for some judicial districts.

— Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr., in his annual report on the state of the federal judiciary (gavel bang: Tony Mauro / The BLT).

Superstar Supreme Court litigator Thomas Goldstein — who has argued 22 cases before the high court, racked up numerous honors from legal and general-interest publications, and, most importantly, served as a judge of ATL Idol — is leaving Akin Gump. Goldstein has led the powerhouse firm’s Supreme Court and appellate practice and serves as presiding co-leader of the firm’s litigation management committee. He arrived at Akin four and a half years ago, back in May 2006, to much fanfare.

Why is Tom Goldstein leaving Akin Gump? And where is he headed?

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Unfortunately, her reasoning has matters exactly backwards. She defers to government officials who regulate private conduct, but attacks those who run government facilities. That basic mindset shows bad intellectual judgment which will lead to a decline in economic and social fortunes that no amount of compassion can cure.

— Professor Richard Epstein, in a piece on Ricochet.com entitled Sonia Sotomayor’s Misplaced “Humanity”.

Does Sarah Palin's home state need a law school? One legislator says: You betcha!

* An impressive collection of legal humor — amusing motions, orders, opinions, and the like. [Law Law Land]

* (Celebrity) Lawyer of the Day: Michael “Mickey” Sherman, a prominent criminal defense lawyer and the husband of a Fox News legal analyst, is going to prison Physician, heal thyself. [TaxProf Blog]

* Elie isn’t feeling well right now — no, it wasn’t all that Kwanzaa cake — but if he were writing today, I suspect he’d have a lot to say about whether Alaska needs its own law school. [Tundra Drums via ABA Journal]

* What does the Ohio Supreme Court have against satellite television? [Consumerist]

* Support staff members at DLA Piper in the U.K. are getting a pretty slim pay raise. [Roll On Friday]

* If you haven’t done so already, check out Mike Sacks’s interesting and elegant analysis of the four youngest Supreme Court justices (which got a well-deserved shout-out from Adam Liptak in the New York Times today). [FIRST ONE @ ONE FIRST]

* Eric Fatla, a law student at GW, passed away from injuries he sustained in a fall at the Union League Club in Chicago. Professor Jonathan Turley remembers his former student. Eric Fatla, R.I.P. [Jonathan Turley; Chicago Breaking News]

I think you just have to do what makes you feel comfortable. In my real life I’m not a frilly, lacy person. Some of the things people wear just struck me as not something I felt comfortable with.

— Justice Elena Kagan, explaining why she doesn’t accessorize her black robe with a jabot (that frilly neck doily that Justice Ginsburg wears), in a recent C-SPAN interview.

Julian Assange

* Julian Assange was arrested at a London police station last night. What a dumb place for Julian Assange to be hanging out. What a stupid, stupid place. [CNN]

* I can’t tell whether this story is real or not, but the Supreme Court heard the case yesterday of a deceased Korean War veteran diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia. [Washington Post]

* Also yesterday, the Supreme Court agreed to decide whether the gender-bias suit against Wal-Mart can continue as a class action lawsuit or, alternatively, whether all of these women should wear red bracelets. [Bloomberg Businessweek]

* A robosigning “kingpin” is in serious legal trouble. Robots haven’t gotten such a bad rap since the Roomba. I said, the Roomba. [Reuters]

* The NFL Players Association is preparing to file a grievance accusing the NFL of collusion related to restricted free agents last offseason. They should also file assault charges against the Patriots due to the absolute pistol-whipping they gave the Jets last night. [ESPN]

* Divorce is skyrocketing in Iran. Reached for comment, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad remarked, “In Iran we don’t have divorce like in your country. In Iran we do not have this phenomenon. I don’t know who’s told you that we have this.” [New York Times]

* So Continental Airlines and one of its mechanics were found guilty of manslaughter by a French court, in the crash of a Concorde a decade ago. Check out the monetary damages. Is that insanely low? I’ll await your analysis in the comments. k thx. [Los Angeles Times]

When asked about the decision in Bush v. Gore, Justice Antonin Scalia — one of the best legal minds in modern American history — tells questioners to “get over it.” That’s right, the Supreme Court decided the winner of a popular presidential election, and one of the architects of that decision wants people to not care about it anymore. Is he serious? I wish Scalia could just “get over” the fact that privacy is a right now, but nobody begrudges him the right to ask questions about it.

It’s the ten-year anniversary of the Bush v. Gore decision, and everybody is talking about it, in part because the Court does not talk about it. Writing in the New Yorker, Jeffrey Toobin tells us that in the decade since the five “conservative” justices stopped Florida’s recount, the Supreme Court has cited Bush v. Gore exactly zero times. Think about that: it’s been ten years since the Supreme Court picked the president, and the Court is kind of hoping everybody forgets about it. Bush v. Gore is like a stripper the Court killed in Vegas when it was there for a bachelor’s party. “She’s got no friends or family, strippers die all the time in Vegas, let’s get back to the hotel and NEVER SPEAK OF THIS AGAIN.”

But this isn’t some drunk broad you can drive into the Atlantic Ocean and hope everybody covers for you. This is a presidential election! And whether or not they talk about it, the effect of Bush v. Gore is very evident today — and not just because of the five SCOTUS votes that were more important than everybody else’s….

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