When she became the fourth woman to join the highest court in the land last August, it was a significant moment in American history. But for newly minted Supreme Court justice Elena Kagan, it meant something so much more: a steady paycheck.

And you have no idea how bad she needed it.

Before Barack Obama nominated her to be the court's 112th justice, Kagan was having some pretty serious cash-flow issues. It's not like she was homeless, but the former solicitor general wasn't exactly living on Easy Street, either. The fact is, Elena Kagan's degrees from Princeton, Oxford, and Harvard didn't keep her from eating lentils and day-old muffins on a regular basis, but, hey, sometimes you have to do what you have to do—and now, for Kagan, that means interpreting the Constitution and starting to pay off some of those credit card bills.

Honestly, though, if it weren't for this Supreme Court justice gig and the plush Georgetown apartment, who knows where she would've wound up? She certainly didn't want to go live with her brother's family again. If they would even have her.

The best part is, after a hard day of shaping the future of the nation's legal system for generations to come, she can actually afford to go home and enjoy some cable TV for once. With HBO! Justice Kagan might even be able to splurge for DVR when Project Runway comes back on.

While it was awkward having to ask Chief Justice Roberts immediately following the judicial oath if she could get her first paycheck in advance, Elena Kagan's ship has, by all accounts, come in. Finally.