White House Doesn’t Know, DOJ Mum on Whether Kagan Received Full Salary Since She ‘Ceased’ Full Duties as Solicitor General

By Fred Lucas | August 4, 2010 | 3:05 PM EDT

Supreme Court nominee Solicitor General Elena Kagan meets and greets senators on Thursday, May 13, 2010.(AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

Washington (CNSNews.com) – Neither the White House nor the Justice Department are saying whether Elena Kagan has been collecting her full government salary since she “ceased” performing her full duties as solicitor general after May 10 when President Barack Obama nominated her to serve on the Supreme Court.
“I’d point you over to the Department of Justice on that. I don’t know what the pay records are,” White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs told CNSNews.com.

Pressed on whether the White House believed she should receive her full salary, Gibbs again said, “I’d point you to the Department of Justice.”
However the Justice Department public affairs office did not respond to numerous inquiries from CNSNews.com on the matter in July.
On July 13, the seven Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee sent written questions to Kagan. These included: “What date did you cease performing your responsibilities as Solicitor General?” and “What duties are you now performing as Solicitor General?”

In written answers to the Judiciary Committee on July 19, Kagan responded, “I ceased performing the litigation responsibilities of the Solicitor General position on or just after May 10, 2010, the date of my nomination to be Associate Justice of the Supreme Court.”
“I informed the Supreme Court on May 17, 2010 that Neal Katyal, the Principal Deputy Solicitor General, would serve as Acting Solicitor General in all filings from the date of my nomination,” Kagan continued in the written answers. “Mr. Katyal also assumed responsibility for acting upon all appeal and other litigation recommendations at this time. I have continued to handle some routine administrative matters.”
According to The National Law Journal, the position of solicitor general pays an annual salary of $165,300. CNN has reported Kagan’s net worth to be $1.8 million. With almost $740,000 cash on hand, $820,000 in retirement funds and no financial liabilities.
Scaling down her duties was likely to avoid the need for recusals in cases she would likely hear while serving as a justice on the court.
“Between March 5, 2010, when I was informed that the President wished to consider me for a possible Supreme Court vacancy, and May 10, 2010, when I was nominated, I handled the work within the Solicitor General’s Office in the normal way; that is, I served as counsel of record in all filings in the Supreme Court and acted upon all appeal and other litigation recommendations,” wrote Kagan.
“During this period, however, I scaled down my participation in more general departmental matters (which was not extensive to begin with). I ceased attending the Attorney General’s morning meetings sometime in early-to-mid April,” she added.
In the questionnaire she filled out for the Judiciary Committee at the beginning of her confirmation process, Kagan said that if she was confirmed, she would recuse herself from cases in which she had been the “counsel of record” as solicitor general.
“If confirmed, I would recuse in all matters for which I was counsel of record,” said Kagan. In her confirmation hearing she also said she would recuse herself from any case in which she had “played any kind of substantial role in the process.”