How Scalia Law School became an important friend of the Supreme Court

“Judge Gorsuch is, of course, the newest member of the Supreme Court and the youngest in a generation to be appointed to the Supreme Court,” the proposal reads. “He also holds the seat of the law school’s namesake, Justice Antonin Scalia, and is widely regarded as a worthy heir to the legacy of this great man.”

The proposal included descriptions of the potential sites, drawing in part on advice from Mr Leo, who could use his “significant connections in Rome and the Vatican” should the need arise.

Other law schools have received judges traveling abroad with expenses paid. New York University, for example, sent Justices Ginsburg and Sotomayor to a conference in Portugal in 2019, despite not receiving teaching salaries. In 2016, Tulane Judge paid Alito to teach in Berlin and Paris, according to his disclosure that year, and covered his expenses. Notre Dame, which counts Judge Amy Coney Barrett as a longtime faculty member, recently fought for the court’s attention, sending Judge Alito to Rome and Judge Kavanaugh to London.

But judicial ethics guidelines only require judges to record that such travel took place; They don’t have to disclose how much their flights, accommodations and meals cost. In Judge Gorsuch’s case, the amount was not inconsiderable, according to the Times filing.

For the Justice’s first course in Padua, an email to its staff quoted an airfare as $3,771. During his Icelandic classes, the school reimbursed him $5,250 for his lodging on top of his salary. Records show that the school spent thousands of dollars more on flights and accommodations for special guest speakers – the friends, colleagues and other figures in the judiciary.

“While our guests are with us, I expect them (from Padua experience) to want to eat, drink and be merry with us (especially with NMG),” wrote one of the coordinators, referring to Judge Gorsuch.

Amanda Frost, a law professor at the University of Virginia who specializes in legal ethics, said she finds such agreements troubling. “Some of it sounds like an all-inclusive paid vacation with a little bit of tuition,” she said in an interview.

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