It’s been a busy summer so far, with a presentation at LSA under my belt, and lots of research still to come. But I’ve been distracted of late with a pesky pedantic thought: which jobs that lawyers can aspire to create titles which survive the position? That is, you’ve retired or left your official position. Do the relevant norms allow you keep using the title? I looked an unrepresentative sample of mainstream media articles.
- Justices: Now and forever. State courts justices get demoted to “judge“, but it’s better than nothing.
- The Solicitor General: “General Kagan” now, “Justice Kagan” in a few weeks, Elena to friends. But more generally, it looks like the former S.G.s (Fried, Olson, Clement, etc.) lose the title when they lose the job.
- Attorney General: It’s an awkward title, so at most the holders are called “former A.G.”
- Professor: Er, there’s such a thing as losing your job as a professor? Regardless, you seem to get to keep the title, if not the cash.
- SEC Commissioner: It depends. If you move into private practice, you seem to lose the title. If you move into academia, you gain a new one.
It’s a weird phenomenon. To me, the titling of former judges looks like the exception, not the rule. What am I missing?