Judge J. Michael Luttig, perennial Supreme Court short-lister and feeder judge extraordinaire, is stepping down from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit. He's heading off to become vice president and general counsel of Boeing. KA-CHING!
Article III Groupie's guess as to Judge Luttig's thinking: "Since it's looking increasingly unlikely that I'll get a Supreme Court nomination anytime soon, I'm packing up my toys and going home. Hasta luego!"
(Of course, Judge Luttig could still get nominated to the SCOTUS from Boeing; but it would be much less likely.)
The text of Judge Luttig's resignation letter to President Bush -- which has a paean to Boeing that sounds like it was ripped straight out of the company's annual report -- is available here (pdf; via Law Blog). Here's an excerpt:
The Boeing Company is an American icon. There is just something larger than life about the company. From the global travel it enables through its commercial aircraft, to the contributions that it makes to our military preparedness and space exploration, its work and its products completely capture the imagination.
And earnings-per-share for the first quarter of 2006 increased 33 percent, to $0.88 per share, while net income increased 29 percent, to $692 million...
Inquiring minds want to know: What will happen to his current clerks? And what about the ones he's hired for the coming judicial year?
A3G's guess: the current Luttigators don't have that much time before they have to report for the start of October Term 2006 -- maybe just a few weeks. So they can just take a nice little vacation, basking in the glory of their imminent apotheosis to the Court, and resting up for the rigors of life at One First Street.
As for the hired-but-not-yet-started Luttig clerks, who will never get to call themselves "Luttigators," they'll probably have to scramble for new jobs. But given their credentials and brilliance, it shouldn't be too hard for them to find gainful employment. (A3G would be happy to hire one of them as her intern.)
If you're in a position to provide more detail on the Luttig resignation, in addition to what appears in news accounts and Judge Luttig's letter, please email A3G. Comments from Luttigators -- many of whom are UTR readers and sources -- are especially welcome.
More to come -- as Drudge likes to say, "developing..."