Would Supreme Court Justices retire younger if they couldn’t live like billionaires while in the job?

I always wondered why Supreme Court Justices didn’t quit their $400,000ish/year (total compensation) jobs and become law firm partners making $5 million/year arguing cases. Why live like civil servants when they could easily be living the multimillionaire lifestyle? And why not retire prior to becoming 98% dead? Recently we’ve learned the answer: they’re living like billionaires just as long as they keep sitting on the Court. Examples: “I shot myself a deer,” Elena Kagan said of a recent big game hunting trip with the conservative justice [Scalia] in Wyoming.” (Atlantic) and “Justice Samuel Alito Took Luxury Fishing Vacation With GOP Billionaire Who Later Had Cases Before the Court” (ProPublica).

If ethics rules were changed so that Supreme Court Justices couldn’t spend weekends and vacations on Gulfstream G700s, I wonder if they’d retire at a more typical age and/or leave government at 60-65 to earn some big $$ in the private sector before hanging up their pens.

Here’s one of our heroes on a July 2008 trip to a $1,000/day fishing lodge in Alaska:

(i.e., right before the world was about to melt down for the peasants)

From the ProPublica article:

“If you were good friends, what were you doing ruling on his case?” said Charles Geyh, an Indiana University law professor and leading expert on recusals. “And if you weren’t good friends, what were you doing accepting this?” referring to the flight on the private jet.

If nothing else, I guess we can be sure that our legal system will remain friendly to the interests of billionaires!

6 thoughts on “Would Supreme Court Justices retire younger if they couldn’t live like billionaires while in the job?

  1. The Mexican president recently had an argument with the Not “supreme” Court in Mexico. He told them that because laws passed recently under his tenure; no government employee can make more money than the president (Constitutional Law). Yet they do a lot, because of extreme corruption. They have benefits that any rich person in the US$A could envy, including money to eat free at fancy restaurants and 2 bullet-proof Suburbans. Additionally to helpers, body guards, trip expenses, vacation primes etc. Mexico is not such a backward country as most Americans still think. Guanajuato has more car factories (6?) than Michigan ever had. Capisce? Corruption reigns supreme in spite of the actual president who is called fascist, populist, communist, populist, socialist; all opposing things.

  2. The amerikan people still live under the delusion that their rulers are in it for the money instead of the power.

  3. I didn’t. mean populist twice. I meant corrupt and machista (enemy of Women). His cabinet has more women than ever before, more than half, likely, including the Secretaria de Gobernacion, who is the heir to the president, if he becomes disfunctional like my wife. Ms. Alcalde is young and good-looking although I hate her long crispy, fluffy hair.

  4. Funny philg, looks like a redneck vacation to me. One evinrude outboard engine on 16 foot boat – looks smaller then setup that belongs to a heavy equipment operator I’ve met.
    We need more articles on corruption in academia, broke patent system that lets patent ancient method of triangulation and how it enables multimillionaires whose residual value output are less then 0. And how such system promotes inflation.

  5. I think we should pay Supreme Court justices $3-5M/year in exchange for strict ethics laws. They will be able to lead a comfortable life that they deserve.

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