06/24/2004: Obscenity of the Month
Originally, I was going to entitle this "Obscenity of the Day", but the more I think of it the more I think this one qualifies for at least a month's worth of umbrage.
Over at Brian Leiter's blog, he points out that it "pays" to be a Supreme Court clerk:
"The intense annual competition to lure elite Supreme Court law clerks to top law firms is reaching record heights this year, with some firms offering jaw-dropping hiring bonuses of $150,000 or more.Then again, before we go weeping for the poor Justices, consider this insight from Slate's legal editor, Dahlia Lithwick:
"These bonuses, added to base salaries in the third-year associate range, make it likely that some of the Court's 35 law clerks this term will be paid upward of $300,000 the first year they leave their justice's chambers. By contrast, Chief Justice William Rehnquist is paid $203,000 a year, and associate justices make $194,300."
Consider, also, that these people do not exactly work coal miner's hours. The justices of the high court listen to arguments for 12 hours a month, six months a year-the functional equivalent of three days down a coal mine. The rest of their time is devoted to deciding which meager 80 cases they'll hear all year, how they'll vote, and writing opinions-for which a good deal of the research and drafting is done by law clerks who never sleep or eat. In sum, a Supreme Court justiceship is a dream job for anyone over the age of 80 or under the age of 7.Keep in mind that at least those overpaid (and yes, I'm not backing down from the position that a $300,000+ salary for a kid 6 years out of college is obscenely overpaying her/him) former clerks will at least be working obscene hours in return for that obscene salary.
Len on 06.24.04 @ 08:56 PM CST