Pennsylvania Supreme Court Justice’s Wife Reportedly Make Fortune In Law Firm Referrals In Addition To Court Salary

image-1855There is an astonishing story coming from Pennsylvania where the wife of Supreme Court Justice Seamus P. McCaffery appears to not only pull a salary as his chief judicial aide but has reportedly pulled in hundreds of thousands of dollars in referral fees from law firms who appear before her husband. In just one such referral fee, Lise Rapaport, received $821,000.

It is surprising enough to learn that Justice McCaffery pays his own wife a public salary as his top aide. However, even though she reportedly holds this state judicial job, she is allowed to continue to receive huge amounts of money from firms on the side without prior disclosure.

What I find most surprising is that this type of thing is not clearly prohibited. Indeed, there is a division among experts as to whether she had to disclose the money. The nepotism in the judicial job should raise some issues. Then there is the outside income from firms doing business before the court.

In all Rapaport has received 18 payments as referral fees from firms.

Putting aside an actual conflict of interest, the appearance of a conflict is tremendous.

McCaffery has reportedly ruled on 11 Supreme Court cases in which some of the firms were participants. No one allegedly revealed the payments in some cases.

This is not Rapaport’s first controversy regarding special treatment. News reports previously suggested that she was given a pass on a traffic matter after being charged with driving the wrong way down a street.

Notably, none of the articles that I have read on this controversy suggest that there is any concern over a justice hiring his own wife as an aide. I am not sure why such hiring of immediate family members is not prohibited under nepotism rules.

What do you think?

Source: Philly

33 thoughts on “Pennsylvania Supreme Court Justice’s Wife Reportedly Make Fortune In Law Firm Referrals In Addition To Court Salary”

  1. This was many, many years ago but when I went to fee dispute against an attorney I won, I was “awarded” a very, very low 5 figure (not allowed to say amt but don’t get much lower). The “award” letter stated I got $$$ but they find in favor of the lawyer. One of the lawyers who was hearing the dispute made it clear to me from the get-go it was not worth my time taking the complaint to the disciplinary committee.
    The defendant doctor committed perjury (the Pa Superior Court called it so) my lawyer forcing me to settle for bupkis a case that not only had perjury but proof malpractice, negligence, and apparent ‘ghost surgery’. Nevertheless my attorney forced me, against my stated will, to settle it. Within 4 weeks the doctor defendant was nominated to be Pa Sec’t of Health.
    The system was rigged against me from the get-go because the doctor was a Pennsylvania name. The lawyer was also a name. Me, I was no one that mattered because in Pa, connections and power are always the most important thing.

  2. 1. +1 on Jonesy’s comment.

    2. Wow. Who would have thought. A legal system that is designed and run for the financial benefit of those working in it. What a revelation.

  3. It’s stunning to me. However, it shouldn’t be. The SCOTUS has a spouse who earns large sums where the issue she deals with is before the court. Not surprisingly, the justice in that instance didn’t think it needed to be reported or that he should recuse himself in relevant cases.

  4. What a great deal! Sure wish I had this much opportunity to be corrupt!

  5. mr.ed, your sister was obviously not in Colorado where OARC has drawn attention for its actions. Bad attorneys and improper relations between judges and attorneys has gone on for decades, eroding trust in the judicial system.

    There are three standards of justice – for the rich, for the poor and for corrupt cronies.

    Many people don’t realize after judges are appointed, they face re-election. As with politicians, you get who you vote for.

  6. I’m curious as to what the disclosure rules require. In my state his position would require an extensive disclosure of almost all sources of income and gifts received by the couple. The disclosure forms can be a real pain for local level officials who have a spouse engaged in a professional practice or operating a small business.

  7. Nobody in the Penn. state gov’t has the cajones to question Mr. Supreme Court that is the reason. If someone forces the issue the state will tie the whole thing up in a mountain of process and fake investigation just to drag it on hoping it will just go away on its own. Ethics and rule of law often are ignored in cases such as this, the best way to hold him accountable is to embarass the policians into action by making them fear for their own political future if they cover this up or do nothing.

  8. It’s too bad my sister has retired from the state supreme court disciplinary council. She’d tear them both anew one. In thirty years, she never lost a case.

  9. ‘There is no calamity greater than lavish desires, no greater guilt than discontentment and no greater disaster than greed.’ (Lao Tzu, sixth century B.C. philosopher)

    Greed is a vice as old as mankind and this couple is well caught up in it’s grasp. It’s quite a con they’re running. The real joke is in addressing this guy as The Honorable Seamus P. McCaffery. I wonder how many have said that while struggling to keep a straight face.

    Pennsylvania is stuck with con-couple till 2017.

  10. What was that old saying?……….Something about Caesar’s Wife?

  11. Did she go to State Penn School of Law? I mean Penn State School of Law? Inquiring minds want to know.

  12. Porteous comes to mind…. Do you think she took money from both sides….

  13. And to ad to Jonesy’s comments, we keep electing these crooks back onto office. So why should they change?

  14. Astonishing? How is this astonishing Mr Turley? This has become the way of America. This country is so saturated in corruption down to its very core from the liars and thieves.

    The liars and thieves escape true justice because they make the rules and then they protect each other. These thieves at worst face a few years in a country club while they seek to imprison people for stealing oreos.

    THIS is what America is now. A corrupt farce of itself. One with 2 justice systems. One for the rich, powerful and govt, the other for everyone else.

  15. And just whay makes you think State Supreme Court Judges should be held to higher set of standards than others? signed, Judge Mccafery’s wife.

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