One could argue that justices of the United States Supreme Court are underpaid. After all, their former law clerks get wooed with $300,000 signing bonuses upon leaving One First Street, which is more than what the justices earn in a year (as just noted by The Economist).
Even though she’s supposedly “retired,” the super-energetic Justice O’Connor remains exceedingly busy, occupied by iCivics work, sitting by designation in circuit courts, and promoting her new book (affiliate link). But she still has some free time — including time to go to the grocery.
It’s sure been a long week for the justices of the Supreme Court. Like any girl who just wants to relax after a rough couple of days, Justice Sonia Sotomayor went on a shopping spree. Her Honor treated herself to some retail therapy after bringing gay couples the joy of joint federal tax returns.
Where did she go, and what’d she buy? Perhaps a pair of peep-toe pumps? We can only hope…
We should have known that the Fisher opinion was going to be a letdown — a “great big dodge,” as my colleague Elie Mystal put it. Instead of readying herself for an historical moment, Justice Elena Kagan spent yesterday doing some window-shopping.
Where did she go, and what merchandise did she check out? Here’s an eyewitness report….
I have previously suggested that the members of the U.S. Supreme Court have a private jet at their disposal. The executive branch has Air Force One and Air Force Two. Isn’t the co-equal third branch of government entitled to “Air Force Three”?
I’m being quite reasonable. I’m not advocating for “one justice, one plane,” a la Reynolds v. Sims. I think it’s fine for the nine to share a single plane and divvy up the hours amongst themselves, not unlike customers of NetJets. Given the security threats faced by the justices — see, e.g., Justice Stephen G. Breyer, who has been robbed at knife point and victimized by a burglar — it would seem prudent to reduce their commercial flying.
So that’s the case in favor of “Air Force Three.” The case against: if the justices didn’t fly commercial, then we wouldn’t have fun celebrity sightings like this one….
I once observed that federal judges are “the closest thing this nation has to an aristocracy.” If that’s the case, then justices of the United States Supreme Court are royalty — or maybe even deities, gods, and goddesses who walk among us (and occasionally crash into us, too).
Alas, it seems that two members of SCOTUS didn’t get the memo. They are comporting themselves in public in ways that are inconsistent with the dignity of the Article III judiciary.
This is a bipartisan problem. One of the offenders comes from the left side of the Court, and one comes from the right….
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?
Alas, Justice Ginsburg wasn’t spotted slurping down noodles at Tony Cheng’s. Rather, Her Honor was in D.C.’s Chinatown for a theater performance, which is more her speed. (She also loves the opera, of course.)
The Eyes of the Law celebrity sighting took place on Friday evening. Our eyewitness reports:
RBG spotted at the theater! It was opening night of the Shakespeare Theatre Company’s “Free for All” production of Twelfth Night at Sidney Harman Hall (yes, as in Rep. Jane Harman’s husband), across from the Verizon Center in D.C’s Chinatown.
The “Free for All” is an annual event in which the Company puts on a free Shakespeare show for Washington for a couple weeks in the summer.
Free theater is nice and all, but Justice Ginsburg doesn’t need handouts. She and her late husband, Martin Ginsburg, revealed assets worth as much as $45 million at the time of her most recent financial disclosure.
So, did our correspondent get to chat with Justice Ginsburg?
The latest item for Eyes of the Law, our legal celebrity sightings column, is a doozy. From the AP:
Rock band Bon Jovi, Harrisburg restaurants and school bands from all over the state were part of yesterday’s daylong celebration of Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell’s inauguration for a second term….
Even more talented than Rendell was his wife, Midge Rendell [aka Third Circuit Judge Marjorie O. Rendell], who capped the concert by singing a duet with rock star Jon Bon Jovi of “Who Says You Can’t Go Home?”
The performance brought the night’s first standing ovation. Rendell ambled up on stage afterward and marveled that no other first lady could sing with Bon Jovi.
“Take that Maria Shriver,” he bellowed, referring to the wife of California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Please correct us if we’re wrong. But this is, as far as we know, the first time a federal circuit judge has sung a duet with Jon Bon Jovi.*
In addition to her musical prowess, the Honorable Marjorie Rendell also deserves props for being the Stylish Marjorie Rendell.
The attractive Judge Rendell, a federal judicial hottie, wore a gown by noted designer Paula Hian to the inauguration festivities.
For hard-core fashionistas, a lengthy description of the frock appears after the jump.
Lately you haven’t been sending many legal celebrity sightings our way. C’mon, guys — we know you can do better. If you harbor doubt as to who constitutes a “legal celebrity” in our book, please review this post.
Due to your delinquency, we’ll have to resort to some rather hoary sightings. Here’s the first, inspired by our recent post about legal hotshots chowing down:
As for food sightings, I hear that Leonard Leo has his own wine locker at Morton’s. One day this past summer, he was there and Miguel Estrada was in the next booth.
For those of you outside the Beltway, Leonard Leo is Grand Poobah of the Federalist Society — ringmaster of the good Senatrix’s “vast right-wing conspiracy.” Miguel Estrada — aka “the kid from Teguicalpa” — is the brilliant Latino lawyer, and former nominee to the celestial D.C. Circuit, who is often talked about as a possible SCOTUS nominee (in a Republican administration).
And what do great legal minds do to work off all those calories? Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, Judge Consuelo Callahan (9th Cir.), and Judge Kathleen Cardone (W.D. Tex.) are aerobics aficionados. And all three, coincidentally, used to teach it. Justice O’Connor led the female law clerks in aerobics at the Supreme Court; Judge Callahan was an instructor at Jack La Lanne Fitness in Stockton, California; and Judge Cardone led classes at EP Fitness in El Paso, Texas.
Meanwhile, Justice David Souter, feeder judges J. Harvie Wilkinson (4th Cir.) and Diarmuid F. O’Scannlain (9th Cir.), and ex-Judge Michael Chertoff (3d Cir.) enjoy running. And they’re not the only ones:
An older sighting (March), but a good one. I was driving my car in Georgetown one Sunday morning behind a jogger (blue/black long spandex pants and windbreaker). He was trotting right down the middle of the street, leaving no opportunity to pass on either side.
We followed behind him for about 2 blocks, going an infuriating 4 mph. When he hits the end of the block, he turns and starts jogging the opposite way, and now he’s heading straight in our direction. It was unmistakably Justice Stephen Breyer.
We commend Justice Breyer for his fitness regimen (which may explain why he’s one of the more svelte of the justices). But please, Your Honor — show some consideration for the motorists.
(Yeah, we know — those brick sidewalks in Georgetown can be a real bitch. But remember the words of Nietzsche: “That which does not kill us makes us stronger.”)
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The holiday season is upon us, and yet again, you have no idea what to get for the fickle lawyer in your life. We’re here to help. Even if your bonus check hasn’t arrived yet, any one of the gifts we’ve highlighted here could be a worthy substitute until your employer decides to make it rain.
We’ve got an eclectic selection for you to choose from, so settle in by that stack of documents yet to be reviewed and dig in…
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