Luttig Quits Court for Boeing Gig

or Lutting Takes the Boeing Charles Austin

Judge Michael Luttig has resigned his seat on the 4th Circuit for a higher paying job with Boeing.

Judge J. Michael Luttig resigned Wednesday from the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to accept a job as senior vice president and general counsel for Boeing Co. Luttig, a conservative judge, had been named to the federal bench former President Bush in 1991 and mentioned last year as a possible nominee for the U.S. Supreme Court.

“This opportunity just came out of the blue,” he told The Associated Press in a telephone interview from his Northern Virginia court chambers. “I was not looking to leave the court, and did not expect to leave the court. After considering it, it seemed an opportunity we could not forego.”

Luttig said his decision had nothing to do with being passed over for the Supreme Court nomination.

Other than, of course, that he wouldn’t have given up a Supreme Court seat to work for an airline.

Update: Orin Kerr concurs and adds additional insight:

Luttig is only 51 years old, and for the last 15 years has been one of the most influential court of appeals judges in the country.A Luttig clerkship was the conservative feeder clerkship, as it basically guaranteed a second clerkship with Justice Scalia, Thomas, or Kennedy. Indeed, almost all of Luttig’s former clerks have gone on to clerk at the Supreme Court, and many of them were shaped by Luttig’s strong views about the role of the courts in constitutional and statutory interpretation. Luttig could have spent another 30 years on the Fourth Circuit, and all signals suggest that he would have continued to be a major force in the appellate judiciary and in conservative legal circles. His decision to give that up to work for Boeing is stunning news.

Allahpundit is skeptical, too.



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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Jim Henley says:

    I dunno. You get some nice travel benefits.

  2. leelu says:

    …ummm, last I looked, Boeing is an airplane manufacturer, not an airline.

    No travel benefits, then.

  3. legion says:

    So why then would Luttig go? I’m assuming the money will be an enormous step up, but his old job had to be pretty comfortable for him to have spent 15 years there, right?

    Hell, at ‘only’ 51, he would no doubt have come up again as an SC nominee at some point, right?

  4. So, um, Luttig took the Boeing in blogosphere parlance?

  5. James Joyner says:

    Charles: Exactly!