TaxProf Blog

Editor: Paul L. Caron, Dean
Pepperdine University School of Law

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Supreme Court Justices and Law Schools

United States Supreme Court The Supreme Court has released the 2009 financial disclosure forms filed by the Justices (see links below).  The forms identify law schools visited by the Justices -- of the 26 law schools visited by a Justice, these schools hosted more than one visit:
  • Arizona (3)
  • Stanford (3)
  • Creighton (2)
  • Duke (2)
  • New England (2)
  • Ohio State (2)
  • Oklahoma (2)

Although all 27 schools reimbursed the Justices for their travel expenses, Justices were paid honoraria on twelve occasions, ranging from $2,500 to $26,550.  Here are the details of the 36 trips by the Justices to the 27 schools:


Arizona, Idaho ($11,500), Louisville, Michigan, New England ($15,000), North Carolina Central, Oklahoma, Stanford


Duke ($11,500), St. Mary’s ($15,000)


Arizona, Cardozo, Chicago, Stanford, UC-Berkeley, Yale


Loyola-Chicago ($6,000), New England, Northwestern ($7,500), Ohio State


Lewis & Clark, McGeorge ($26,550). Oklahoma, Stanford


Arizona, Creighton, Duke ($2,500), Ohio State, Penn State ($10,000), Pepperdine, San Diego ($7,500)






Alabama ($4,500), Creighton ($15,000), Minnesota, SMU, Washington & Lee

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On a humorous note, I see why Kennedy controls the Court's direction. He received more from one honorarium than Roberts and Alito received from two honoraria, and more than Scalia received from three honoraria.

I make no suggestion of corruption by the way, as their visits are clearly not based on such honoraria. I wonder what they do with the money?

Posted by: ha ha's | Aug 19, 2010 7:24:31 AM

I don't want to hurt anyone's feelings, but why pay $26,500 to hear people who already spend the whole year expressing themselves, publicly, on every conceivable issue?

Posted by: Michael A. Livingston | Aug 19, 2010 9:21:54 AM

To be fair, this is comparing apples and oranges. The major honoraria come from actually visiting a school or, more likely, a school's summer abroad program, to teach a short class. Most of the rest of these visits are the 1-2 day variety involving a speech or moot court stint, neither of which is as much work as preparing, teaching, and grading a class.

Posted by: Anon | Aug 19, 2010 9:30:14 AM

As one example of the above, see this link for a celebration of Justice Kennedy's 21st straight year teaching at McGeorge's summer program in Austria. He teaches a three week class, which likely accounts for why his honoraria is the highest amount and is a third or so higher than the next highest (which are likely for teaching 1-2 week classes). Also, Kennedy was teaching at McGeorge for decades before he was elevated to the Supreme Court, so this isn't even simply about getting a justice to come to the school to garner prestige for the school.

Posted by: Anon | Aug 19, 2010 10:31:59 AM