Judge Luttig Goes for the Big Bucks

U.S. Circuit Judge J. Michael Luttig, passed over by President Bush for an appointment to the Supreme Court, will leave his career as a public servant for a high-paying job at Boeing.

The job as Boeing’s general counsel—which likely pays close to $1 million, according to the Washington Post—would allow Luttig to more than quadruple his meager $171,800 salary as a federal judge. But will it give him the same satisfaction now that he’s a corporate shill?

Apparently if you pay Michael Luttig enough money, he’ll do anything you ask. The Post’s Jerry Markon, who interviewed Luttig, wrote this today:

Friends of Luttig said yesterday that the financial lure of the Boeing job and the greater ability to pay for his children’s college education — Luttig has a 14-year-old daughter and a 10-year-old son — were key to his resignation. Luttig’s judicial salary was $171,800. Boeing would not reveal his compensation, but Frank H. Menaker Jr., who stepped down last year as general counsel at Bethesda-based Lockheed Martin Corp., earned $760,000 with an $893,500 bonus.

Knowing now that Luttig would throw away a lengthy and honorable career as a judge to enrich himself in the private sector gives me all the more confidence in Bush’s choice of Samuel Alito—a man who has devoted his life to serving the American people. That’s also why Alito, in my opinion, will be a better Supreme Court justice than John Roberts, who made his fortune at a private Washington practice.

Luttig had no other reason but money to leave his lifetime appointment on the 4th Circuit. Cashing in is Luttig’s prerogative, and while disappointing, it illustrates that greed (and perhaps bitterness about Roberts and Alito) were more important than fulfilling an important role on the federal bench. Shame on you, Judge Luttig.