This weekend, judges, lawyers and staff of the country’s 9th Circuit Court of Appeals will convene in Maui, Hawaii, for a government-funded conference that they refused to cancel despite pressure from Republican lawmakers who balked at the junket’s $1 million price tag.
Two Supreme Court Justices, Samuel Alito and Anthony Kennedy, will attend the three-day event and are scheduled to speak briefly on the conference’s final day. Their mere presence will add tens of thousands of dollars to the conference’s security costs, law enforcement sources told The Washington Examiner.
Ninth Circuit Chief Judge Alex Kozinski recently told Congress it was too late to cancel the event, which was booked two years in advance. Senate aides dispute that claim. After combing through the contract, the aides determined that the court could cancel the event by paying a penalty fee that would save most of the taxpayers’ money.
“In hindsight, had we foreseen the nation’s current fiscal problems, we may have chosen a different site for this year’s conference,” Kozinski wrote to Sens. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, and Jeff Sessions, R-Ala. last week. “But … canceling contracts at this late date is just not feasible and we remain convinced that the conference will improve the administration of justice within the circuit.”
Taxpayer watchdog groups disagree with the court’s decision, which comes just weeks after Congress skewered the General Services Administration for handing out $44 million in bonuses to government workers and for holding dozens of often-lavish conferences.
Read the rest at The Washington Examiner