“The case did not involve my children, the public officials who granted them scholarships or me.”
-- Pascal F. Calogero, Jr., Chief Justice
Louisiana Supreme Court
Justice Pascal F. Calogero, Jr. and Tulane Scholarships
In 1993, the Times-Picayune newspaper filed a lawsuit against five legislators to compel disclosure of their nominees for Tulane University's legislative scholarship program.1 Although three of Justice Calogero's sons had received a total of 12-years of legislative scholarships to attend Tulane, he would not disqualify himself from participating in the case when it had progressed to the State Supreme Court.2 Instead, Calogero joined the majority of justices who ruled against reviewing the lower court's decision regarding access to the legislators' records, thereby leaving the names of their Tulane scholarship recipients undisclosed.2
Subsequently, the Times-Picayune sued Tulane directly to obtain the records of its legislative scholarship recipients. One of the results that emerged from the successful suit was the revelation that Justice Calogero's children were among the recipients.3
Calogero, who chaired the state court's Judicial Ethics Committee,4 said there were no "legal" grounds for recusing himself and that neither he nor his children did anything wrong.5
|Children of Justice Pascal F. Calogero, Jr. Who Received
Legislative Scholarships to Tulane [A, B]
||Scholarship Sponsor [C, D]
|David J. Calogero
||Moon Landrieu, Mayor [E]
New Orleans, Orleans Parish*
| " "
||Ernest "Dutch" Morial, Mayor
New Orleans, Orleans Parish
| " "
||1980-83 (3) [F]
||M. Joseph Tiemann, Senator [G]
|Pascal Calogero, III
||Gaston Gerald, Senator [H]
D-East Baton Rouge Parish
| " "
||M. Joseph Tiemann, Senator
|Thomas M. Calogero
||Ben Bagert, Jr., Senator
*Louisiana parishes are equivalent to counties in other states.
- Source: Tyler Bridges, "Scholarships to Insiders," The Times-Picayune, New Orleans, October 15, 1995, p. A-13. The newspaper sued Tulane twice to obtain the list of legislators and their nominees for scholarships.
- Tulane's annual tuition and fee rate for 2008 was $38,664. See: http://pandora.tcs.tulane.edu/acctrec/pdfs/TUITION__FEES_083-091.pdf, accessed 01/21/09. At 2008 rates, the value of 12 years of scholarships would be about $464,000.
- Parishes represented by legislative sponsors were obtained from the publication, Membership in the Louisiana Senate, 1880-2008, available from the Louisiana State Legislature Web Portal, http://legis.state.la.us/, accessed 03/17/05.
- According to Act 43 of 1884, Sec. 6, each state legislator may nominate a bona fide citizen or resident of his own district or parish for a free tuition. At the time scholarships were awarded to his children, Justice Calogero was residing in New Orleans. Later constitutional amendments changed the nomination requirements to give each legislator "the right to nominate one student from among the citizens of the state," thereby permitting legislators from one parish to nominate candidates from another. See: Attorney General Opinion 93-839.
- In 1992, former Mayor Moon Landrieu became Judge of Louisiana's 4th Circuit Court of Appeals, a position he held until his retirement in 2000.6 Landrieu was a 1954 graduate of Loyola Law School and a schoolmate of Calogero who graduated from Loyola Law School that same year.5 Both served in the U.S. Army from 1954-1957, and in 1957 they opened a law firm in New Orleans and practiced law together until 1969 when Landrieu left to become mayor of the city.5
- The original intent of the scholarship program was to provide a liberal arts education through the bacclaurate and not beyond. As stated in Attorney General Opinion 87-225: "It is our opinion that the graduate and professional schools were not included in the scholarship provisions of Act 43 of 1884. ... Therefore, it our opinion that Tulane University may limit the award of legislative scholarships to only those students in the undergraduate school." In 1975, Tulane unilaterally adopted a resolution to extend the legislative scholarship program to include the professional schools, thus permitting students such as David Calogero, Thomas Calogero and Victoria Reggie to attend Tulane Law School tuition free.
- In 1982, State Senator M. Joseph Tiemann, a former parish priest,7 became Judge of the 24th Judicial District Court in Jefferson Parish, a position he held until his retirement in 1996.8 Tiemann was subsequently employed as judge pro tempore in that same court.8 In 2004 by order of Justice Calogero, he was assigned to fill the vacancy left by the suspension of District Court Judge Alan Green,9 and in 2007, also by order of Justice Calogero, he was assigned to fill the vacancy left by the suspension of District Court Judge Martha Sassone.10
- In 1979, State Senator Gaston Gerald was convicted and later imprisoned for attempting to extort money from a contractor doing business with the state.11
In 1972, Calogero was elected to fill an unexpired term on the Louisiana Supreme Court, and he served on that court from 1973 until his retirement at the close of 2008.5 Between the years of 1975 and 1989, friends in high places came forward to assist him with his financial needs by offering Tulane scholarships (Table I).
Calogero was unapologetic about the scholarships received by his sons. "How we got through educating all those kids on this salary is hard to believe," he said.12 "But I had a friend who helped me. He was the mayor of the city, and he got some scholarships to send my boys to Tulane."12 Calogero's "friend" was Mayor Moon Landrieu.5
Justice Pascal Calogero administers the oath of office to Mayor Moon Landrieu [prob. 1974].
Source: City Archives, New Orleans Public Library, http://nutrias.org/photos/landrieu/ml234.htm, accessed 01/28/09.
Years later, Landrieu admitted: "The truth is that Tulane wanted the sons and daughters of governors, senators, congressman, judges, mayors and legislators as students and did not discourage the award of scholarships to them."13 Such a statement acknowledges the extent to which Tulane unabashedly uses people in power to advance its own agenda. Tulane's policy is widely recognized and continues to serve the institution well, in and out of the courtroom.
Of particular interest are the years 1975 and 1989, the dates between which Tulane scholarships were made available to Calogero's sons. Moon Landrieu noted that, at the time he awarded the Tulane scholarships, "Tulane's tuition was $2,000 per year, and the state universities were virtually tuition-free."13 Loans at that time also carried low interest rates of only 2 to 3 percent.14 Calogero's suggestion that his salary was inadequate to permit the education of his children lacks credibility upon further examination.
Table II shows the average salary of a Louisiana Supreme Court Judge for the years 1975 and 1989, as well as its 2008 purchasing power equivalent. For comparison, with the assumption that the qualified children of Louisiana school teachers are equally as deserving as the qualified children of judges, the average salaries of those public servants are also displayed.
|Average Salaries of Louisiana Public Servants [A, B]
*2008 Equivalent (of purchasing power) determined according to the "Inflation Calculator" of Dollar Times
†Includes the $18,000 supplemental living allowance granted by the state legislature in 1989.16
- Salaries of judges taken from: National Center for State Courts, "Survey of Judicial Salaries, Archive Editions," http://www.ncsconline.org/WC/Publications/KIS_JudComJudSalArchives.html, accessed 01/22/09. For 1975 salaries, see: Vol. 2, No. 1, p. 3.; for 1989 salaries, see: Vol. 15, No. 1, p. 3.
- Salaries of teachers taken from: "Average Annual Salaries of Public School Teachers and Principals, 1975-90," Louisiana Department of Education, 141st Annual Financial and Statistical Report, Session 1989-90, Bulletin 1472, p. 11, http://www.louisianaschools.net/lde/pair/AFSR/8990.pdf, accessed 01/21/09.
From Table II, several facts are evident: (1) The salaries of Louisiana school teachers are approximately one-quarter those of Louisiana Supreme Court Judges, and (2) Between the years of 1975 and 1989, judges gained more than $10,000 in annual purchasing power, whereas teachers lost nearly $5,000 in annual purchasing power. Therefore, based on financial need, the argument that the qualified children of judges are more deserving than the qualified children of school teachers, among others, is clearly untenable.
Could there be a motive other than political gain (or fear of reprisal) that compels legislators to reach outside the large population centers of their own parishes to award scholarships to their "friends" in other parishes?
Evidently, the principle at work here is the preservation of wealth and power within the membership of the ruling elite. It seems a tragedy for democracy that our elected leaders would subordinate loyalty to the state, the public and even the laws of ethics, for their personal loyalty to "friends" and other political allies.
January 28, 2009
- "Scholarship Scandal Finale," [Editorial], The Times-Picayune, New Orleans, October 15, 1995, Metro, p. 6.
- Susan Finch, "Justice Defends Role in Tulane Case - 3 Sons Received Scholarships," The Times-Picayune, New Orleans, October 15, 1995, National, p. A-10.
- Tyler Bridges, "Scholarships to Insiders," The Times-Picayune, New Orleans, October 15, 1995, National, p. A-13.
- "In the state," The Advocate, Baton Rouge, February 15, 1998, State, p. 6.
- Susan Finch, "Incumbent Justice Steeped in Experience," The Times-Picayune, New Orleans, September 20, 1998, National, p. A-6.
- "Moon Landrieu," Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moon_Landrieu, accessed 01/22/09.
- Stephanie Grace, "Lawrence A. Chehardy Dies at Age 77; Perennial Jeff Assessor Fought Home Taxation," The Times-Picayune, New Orleans, February 5, 1999, National, p. A1.
- Louisiana Supreme Court, 2004 Press Releases, October 11, 2004, http://www.lasc.org/press_room/press_releases/2004/2004-14.asp, accessed 01/21/09.
- Manuel Torres, "Top court suspends indicted judge; Replacement appointed to handle his caseload," The Times-Picayune, New Orleans, October 12, 2004, Metro, p. 1.
- Paul Purpura, "Judge Sassone's suspension begins; High court rejects her plea to reconsider," The Times-Picayune, New Orleans, August 1, 2007, National, p. 1.
- "Pol in the Pen," Time Magazine, New York, June 8, 1981, http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,922546,00.html, accessed 01/21/09.
- Laura Maggi, "Chief Justice Signing Off after 36 Years on Bench; Calogero Emphasized Justice for the Needy," The Times-Picayune, New Orleans, January 1, 2009, National, p. 1.
- Moon Landrieu, "Former Mayor Landrieu on Tulane Scholarships," The Times-Picayune, New Orleans, October 25, 1995, Metro, p. B-6.
- William S. Marshall, Jr., "Landrieu's Defense of Tuition Grants Astonishing," [Letter], The Times-Picayune, New Orleans, November 5, 1995, Metro, p. B-6.
- "Inflation Calculator: The Changing Value of a Dollar," Dollar Times, http:dollartimes.com/calculators/inflation.htm, accessed 01/14/09.
- James Gill, "Justices Who Milk Public Purse," The Times-Picayune, New Orleans, April 11, 1997, Metro, p. B-7.