During argument yesterday in a Supreme Court case considering whether the labor laws require compensation for time spent in security screenings, Justice Kagan asked the following question:
Can I give you a different hypo, which is similar to some of the ones that have been floating around in a brief, but it’s actually based on real life circumstances. There was a judge ages ago in the Southern District of New York who had his clerks — all that they did was help him with his opinions and his cases and that was their principal activity, but had his clerks come early in order to cut his grapefruit and otherwise make breakfast for him. And would that be compensable?
As the National Law Journal reports, the judge in question was legendary Southern District Judge Edward Weinfeld:
[T]he 1998 book Closed Chambers by Edward Lazarus states that clerks for Southern District Judge Edward Weinfeld “knew they had to be in the office at 7 a.m. to cut the judge’s morning grapefruit.” After that, he added, the clerks “learned a lifetime’s worth of civil procedure and good lawyering.”