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Wednesday, May 10, 2006 

Major Judicial Shake Up

Judge J. Michael Luttig announced that he will step down from the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals. He is leaving the bench to become vice president and general counsel to Boeing. Luttig is something of a conservative judicial icon and this news may have far reaching effects. As I have discussed before on here, Luttig is the top clerk feeder for Justices Scalia and Thomas. He was an important step in the intellectual training of many conservative lawyers.

There could be many reasons for this move. As Luttig states, this is an extraordinary opportunity. Chances like this do not come by often. There is also the issue of compensation. Luttig is going to be making a hell of a lot more money at Boeing. When compared to other jobs for lawyers of their ability, federal judges just do not make a lot. They are certainly not starving, but I'm pretty sure that the Chief Justice took a pay cut when he left Hogan & Hartson. You really need a strong commitment to public service to overcome those pay differences (or be less greedy than I am). Also, Luttig knows that he is not going to be nominated to the Supreme Court, at least not by Bush. Apparently, he and the president have some heat between them. They just don't get along for some reason. It's tough to speculate why, but Luttig worked in the George HW Bush administration. Maybe their paths crossed there.

Best of luck to Luttig. He honestly deserves a seat on the Supreme Court. Maybe he will get it sometime after 2008.

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  • I'm Steve
  • From Milwaukee, Wisconsin, United States
  • "There is only one basic human right, the right to do as you damn well please. And with it comes the only basic human duty, the duty to take the consequences." P.J. O'Rourke
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