Court convenes in October, rulings handed down the next July or so.
Do they spend those nine months researching and debating the case amongst themselves? Writing the decisions? Is vacation time for them July-October or do they spend that time deciding what cases to hear the following session?
They spend their time figuring out which cases have a legal “hook”, i.e. something that catches their attention as a critical legal principle, for which they will grant cert; as opposed to the cases that they want to blow off. So, hookers and blow.
Well, of course they’ve got a small army of clerks and minions doing their research for them, as well as - I imagine - reviewing cert petitions. I see no reason to believe it is 8 hrs a day, 5 days a week of heavy labor.
Lots of responsibility, sure. But as for the day-to-day requirements, impresses me as a pretty sweet gig.
In case you’re wondering, the average US SCJ makes $214K a year, and the Chief Justice make $10K more than that, but even with all the staff there’s still a lot of work that has to get done. I imagine there are quite a few perks to the job, and the benefits are pretty good.
Of course there have been justices like Thurgood Marshall who liked nothing more than spend hours and hours and hours and hours and hours and hours and hours telling stories. Apparently his clerks wrote all of his opinions the last five years he was on the court.
And of course there’s always “movie day” when the justices review the pornos movies/videos/photos and other exhibits that tend to crop up in first amendment cases.
Retired Justice Souter was profoundly bored in his job. However he is a classic New England hermit, so the trappings of the job (i.e. ass kissed regularly, etc) were not to his liking. Yeah, a lot of reading and thought and the clerks do the dirty work, but after a few years it gets pretty routine. After that, you really are there for the trappings unless you desire to write books to keep your life interesting.
I highly recommend Woodward and Armstrong’s The Brethren (which covers from the late Sixties up through the late Seventies) and Toobin’s The Nine (from the Clinton years to the present day) for a look at what life is actually like for SCOTUS justices. Each book is an interesting mix of law, process, politics and gossip. And yes, they read and read and read and read. The deluge of paper, even in this electronic age, is staggering. Fun fact: hanging in the justices’ private dining room are portraits of both Marbury and Madison.