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?
* Lady Kaga issues her first single: a ruling against a Chapter 13 debtor, in favor of his credit card issuer, affirming the Ninth Circuit by a vote of 8-1. The lone dissenter: Justice Scalia. Weird, huh? [WSJ Law Blog; ABA Journal]
* How do you prosecute a deaf, mute, illiterate man? Please, please, please let the answer include pinball. [WSJ Law Blog]
* Should law school final exams use made-up hypotheticals or real-life cases? Professor Howard Wasserman assesses pros and cons. [PrawfsBlawg]
* Illinois State Senate takes a syringe stab at repealing the death penalty. [Reuters]
* Guns used to shoot off penises > Guns used to shoot at attackers. [Gawker]
* Congratulations to the 13 new partners at Bingham McCutchen. [Bingham]
* Lateral Link is teaming up with Frank Kimball, the former McDermott Will hiring partner who founded Kimball Professional Management, to focus on partner placements. (Disclosure: Lateral Link is an ATL advertiser.) [Am Law Daily; Lateral Link (press release)]
Here’s a fun little judicial sight-ation from the weekend. On Saturday night, at around 9 p.m., Justice Elena Kagan was spotted in the elevator of the luxury apartment building in downtown D.C. that she calls home.
According to our tipster, Justice Kagan was wearing “mom jeans.” And carrying a pizza.
The 112th justice of the United States Supreme Court, carrying her own pizza? This is a scandal of the highest order.
A few years ago, we were traumatized by the sight of then-Judge Michael Chertoff carrying his own takeout lunch (see here, item #4). But he was a mere circuit judge, and Elena Kagan is a Supreme Court justice.
Shouldn’t Justice Kagan have one of her clerks deliver pizza to her on Saturday night? It diminishes the dignity of the entire federal judiciary to know that an associate justice of the Supreme Court has to fetch her own pizza.
So, let’s get to the important part: What brand of pizza does Her Honor favor?
Monday, October 4, marked the start of a new Supreme Court Term — October Term 2010, to be more specific. It also marked the first day of oral arguments for the newest member of the Court — Lady Kaga, aka Associate Justice Elena Kagan. As Justice White famously observed, a new justice makes a new court.
New Term, new justice, new court — and that’s not all that’s new in SCOTUS-related matters. There’s a new conservative sheriff in town, at least according to Jan Crawford. There’s a new book out about the Court — the long-awaited biography of Justice Brennan, by Seth Stern and Stephen Wermiel.
And, of course, we have new Supreme Court clerk hires to report, for the Term after this one — October Term 2011. Not all the justices are done hiring, at least as far as we know; but if you covet a Supreme Court clerkship, accurately described by Adam Liptak as “the most coveted credential in American law,” you should know that the window of opportunity is closing — fast. One justice has even hired a clerk for October Term 2012.
Am I correct in asserting that Jimmy Smits has had more judicial experience than Elena Kagan?
– Dahlia Lithwick, opining on Jimmy Smits’s new show Outlaw. On the show, Smits plays a Supreme Court justice who steps down to “fight for change in the legal system,” because as we all know, SCOTUS justices are so powerless.
Justice Kagan, who was sworn in on Saturday, isn’t wasting any time in getting her chambers up and running. Lady Kaga has hired her four little monsters for OT 2010.
Just as Justice Sonia Sotomayor did last year, Justice Kagan is hiring outgoing Supreme Court clerks — i.e., clerks who just finished up with their justices — to ease her transition. Out of her four clerks for the upcoming Term, three also clerked on the Court in the Term just ended (October Term 2009).
Not surprisingly, the former dean of Harvard Law School bleeds Crimson. At least two of Justice Kagan’s four clerks are HLS graduates. One is a graduate of Yale Law School (the alma mater of Justice Kagan’s late father). (We’re still waiting for the name and law school of the fourth clerk.)
UPDATE: We’ve learned the name of the fourth Kagan clerk. She’s also a Harvard Law grad, leaving Justice Kagan with three out of four clerks from HLS. More details after the jump.
So who will be joining the Divine Miss K in the heavenly confines of One First Street?
This should not come as a huge surprise, but Solicitor General Elena Kagan was just confirmed by the Senate as to be the 112th justice of the United States Supreme Court. Kagan, the first woman to serve as Solicitor General, is the fourth woman ever to serve on the Court.
CORRECTION: I replaced “as” with “to be” after receiving this from a former White House official: “I feel compelled to point out that the Senate confirmed Kagan TO BE the 112th justice, after which President Obama likely appointed her AS the 112th justice. Marbury, Madison, etc.”
Fifty-eight Democrats and independents, as well as five Republicans, voted for Kagan. Thirty-six Republicans and one Democrat, Sen. Ben Nelson of Nebraska, voted against the nominee.
The five Republicans who supported Kagan were Sens. Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe of Maine, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, Richard Lugar of Indiana and Judd Gregg of New Hampshire.
The current U.S. Supreme Court lineup (once Kagan is officially sworn in): Chief Justice John Roberts (Bush 43) and Justices Antonin Scalia (Reagan), Anthony Kennedy (Reagan), Clarence Thomas (Bush 41), Ruth Bader Ginsburg (Clinton), Stephen Breyer (Clinton), Samuel Alito (Bush 43), Sonia Sotomayor (Obama) and Elena Kagan (Obama).
UPDATE: In case you’re curious, President Obama’s prior SCOTUS nominee, Justice Sonia Sotomayor, was confirmed last year by a vote of 68-31, with nine Republicans in support. Three Republicans voted for Sotomayor but not Kagan: Lamar Alexander (Tenn.), Christopher Bond (Mo.), and Voinovich (Ohio). Scott Brown (Mass.) — who introduced Kagan at her hearings, by the way — voted against her (but wasn’t in the Senate yet for the Sotomayor vote). So did George LeMieux (Fla.), who replaced Mel Martinez (a pro-Sotomayor Republican).
After the Kagan vote, the Divine Miss K’s successor as Harvard Law School dean, Martha Minow, sent out a celebratory email at HLS….
* Today Judge Vaughn Walker will issue his ruling in Perry v. Schwarzenegger, the constitutional challenge to the Prop 8 gay marriage ban in California. Lawyer/journalist Chris Geidner has this great FAQ about it. [Metro Weekly]
* A bankruptcy examiner’s report brings mostly good news for lawyers at Brown Rudnick, who had been accused of improperly redacting a complaint. [Am Law Daily]
* Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who’s 77, wants to stay on the Court until she’s at least 82 (the age at which Justice Louis Brandeis retired). [Associated Press via How Appealing]
* Meanwhile, RBG’s future colleague moves one step closer to confirmation: Senate floor debate on the Kagan nomination is even more predictable and unexciting than the Kagan hearings. [New York Times]
* Note to bloggers: avoid using material from the Las Vegas Review-Journal, or you could find yourself getting sued by a “copyright troll.” (Fellow blogger Marc Randazza is quoted extensively.) [Las Vegas Sun via ABA Journal]
Hey, have you read Above the Law for like one single minute in the past month? If so, you probably know that we’re having this big blogger conference on March 14th at the Yale Club. Yeah, the Yale Club. You’ll be able to recognize me: I’ll be the only big… blogger guy surreptitiously holding a can of crimson spray-paint.
Speaking of coming, you should come. We’ve got CLE and all that. Click here to buy tickets to get CLE credit for listening to bloggers scream about stuff on the internet.
To refresh your memory, details on the panel that I’m moderating — almost entirely sober, mind you — follow.
My panel is called Blogs as Agents of Change, and we’re going to talk about whether all of these spilled pixels are actually making a difference. You know my view… just ask Lawrence Mitchell, but here are the panelists:
So you spent a considerable amount of time courting, selling and maybe even doing some friendly stalking of that attractive lateral partner candidate with a sizable book. After he or she ignored your emails and didn’t return your calls, a few weeks go by and you read a press release in the legal media announcing the recent move to a competing firm.
Rats. Another one got away from you. You cringe when you consider how much time was spent in meetings that did not bear fruit. Your heart aches when recall how you were led to believe this was a marriage made in heaven.
You have been rejected.
The sting of rejection is painful, even for fancy law firms. But you need to find a way that you can turn this disappointment into a legitimate learning experience.
No, this isn’t a pre-party before we come back next fall for the real thing. This IS the real thing. Quinn Emanuel is pushing the envelope on recruiting. The party is now. This is when you meet the partners and associates face to face. This is when we begin the dance that could land you an offer for your second summer BEFORE school starts in the fall.
First: You come to the party. Second: If you like us, you send your resume after June 1, 2014. Third: If we like each other, you get an offer.
We’re not waiting for fall. We’re not doing the twenty minute thing. This party is the real thing!
We hope you’ll join us, and look forward to meeting you.
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