“Justice Gorsuch is, of course, the newest member of the Supreme Court and the youngest to be appointed to the high court in a generation,” the proposal said. “He also holds the seat of the Law School’s namesake, Justice Antonin Scalia, and is widely believed to be a worthy successor to the legacy of that great man.”
The proposal included descriptions of the potential sites, relying in part on advice from Mr. Leo, who could use his “significant connections in Rome and at the Vatican,” should they be required.
Other law schools have hosted justices on expenses-paid trips abroad. New York University, for example, sent Justices Ginsburg and Sotomayor to a conference in Portugal in 2019, though they did not receive teaching salaries. In 2016, Tulane paid Justice Alito to teach in Berlin and Paris, according to his disclosure from that year, and covered his expenses. Notre Dame, which counts Justice Amy Coney Barrett as a longtime faculty member, has recently been vying for the court’s attention, sending Justice Alito to Rome and Justice Kavanaugh to London.
But judicial ethics guidelines require only that the justices make note that such travel took place; they do not have to disclose how much their flights, lodging and meals cost. In Justice Gorsuch’s case, it was not an insignificant amount, according to the records obtained by The Times.
For the justice’s first course in Padua, an email to his staff quoted a price of $3,771 for airfare. During his Iceland class, the school reimbursed him $5,250 for his lodging, in addition to paying his salary. The records show the school spent thousands of dollars more on flights and accommodations for special guest speakers — the justice’s friends, colleagues and other notables.
“While our guests are with us, I expect them (from experience in Padua) to want to eat, drink and be merry with us (especially with NMG),” one of the coordinators wrote, referring to Justice Gorsuch.
Amanda Frost, a law professor at the University of Virginia who specializes in legal ethics, said she found such arrangements troubling. “Some of this sounds like all-expenses-paid vacations, with a little teaching thrown in,” she said in an interview.