Former Senator Arlen Specter, who is now a lawyer in private practice, recently argued a hearing before Judge Sullivan in an attempt to prevent NASDAQ from delisting his client. A state court had issued a TRO against the delisting, and, in a transcript made public today, Judge Sullivan was skeptical that Congress intended the state courts to have that power. Sen. Specter took the opportunity to observe that Congress sometimes made mistakes, as with judicial pay:
THE COURT: Look, I don’t think we really want everybody doing end runs around the SEC and running in to state court for stays and for TROs when the scheme that Congress enacted allows for a stay and allows for federal review of the administrative decision at the Court of Appeals level. You could cut straight to the Court of Appeals. It strikes me as what Congress decided to do. They could have decided to do something different, but they didn’t.
MR. SPECTER: Congress makes some mistakes, too. That’s why you have courts. THE COURT: You’re looking at me when you say that. MR. SPECTER: Congress made a mistake in not raising your pay. THE COURT: Well, I don’t take it personally. MR. SPECTER: Justice Kennedy and Chief Justice Roberts came to talk to the Chairman of the Judiciary Committee. He wanted to raise your pay by $100,000, from 174 to 274. THE COURT: Wow. Don’t tell my wife. MR. SPECTER: Well, that’s a fact. I’ll give you an affidavit on it. I was there.
The subject of judicial pay came up elswhere in the hearing, when a lawyer for Cleantech made the mistake of analogizing his client’s plight to being kicked out of “the university club”:
MR. FENSTERSTOCK: Well, it’s my understanding — I agree and disagree. It’s my understanding that Cleantech — that NASDAQ will, as you suggested, remove Cleantech from the pending delisting. And it’s like going to the university club and having your membership crossed out —
THE COURT: Is this an analogy you think I’m going to get?
MR. FENSTERSTOCK: Yes. I don’t know. Maybe.
THE COURT: No, I can assure you. Specter knows because he didn’t give me a pay raise. I’m joking, of course.