Breitbart's Dan Riehl reported Sunday that the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, the federal district and bankruptcy courts in nine Western states and two Pacific island territories, and associated lawyers and court staff are due to gather at the luxurious Hyatt Regency Maui Resort and Spa between August 13 - 16, 2012 for an annual judicial conference to the tune of approximately one million taxpayer dollars.
From tennis courts to the caddy shack and luau experience, justice will be served in a manner many Americans never get to experience. Breitbart News has reviewed a letter from the offices of the Ranking Member of the Senate Budget Committee, Senator Jeff Sessions, and the offices of Senator Chuck Grassley, the Ranking Member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, with several detailed questions they want answered by the Ninth District.
The letter cites the 2010 version of the Ninth Circuit's annual judicial conference that cost taxpayers over $657,000 in travel costs alone, along with $860,000 in combined travel costs for the Ninth Circuit's 2008 and 2009 annual conferences in Monterey, California and Sun Valley, Idaho, respectively. It also provides evidence of the Ninth Circuit's awareness of the Government's budget challenges in the face of a still suffering Obama economy, going on to challenge why the Ninth Circuit seems determined to go on spending large amounts of money on plush conferences, when a more prudent approach could provide the same value for professional purposes. [Emphasis added]
The Ninth District is considered by many to be the most liberal of all U.S. Court Districts, with 64% of sitting judges having been appointed by Democrats--the highest of all the districts. Many also consider the district as having the highest rate of being overturned by the Supreme Court. Research by Breitbart News suggests other districts are making efforts to cut back, while the Ninth District appears to have maintained a Party on, dude! attitude when it comes to putting on its judicial conferences.
As in past years, the Ninth District seems content to leave taxpayers on the hook for whisking many judges and aligned judicial professionals off to an exclusive destination, so that they might also enjoy "yoga, surfing lessons, stand up paddle board lessons, Zumba (a Latin-inspired dance program), a tennis tournament, a day trip and tour of Upcountry Maui, a Gemini Catamaran snorkle trip, and an activity called 'The Aloha Experience.'" [Emphasis added]
The website for the conference assures taxpayers that their funds are not being used for "recreational or sporting" activities, but what of everything else? Round-trip airfare to Hawaii, luxury hotels, or (maybe) wine in a jacuzzi bathtub?
The Eighth Circuit, meanwhile, is reportedly meeting in Kansas City for their conference, while the Seventh Circuit has teamed up with the District's Bar Association to hold their event in Chicago.
They may not always get the law right, given what many view as the Ninth Circuit's high rate of being overturned, but it appears as though they can do a mean "Zumba" and have some darned good tans, while not exactly starving themselves as many Americans continue to look for work in President Obama's down economy.
Senators Jeff Sessions (R-AL) Chuck Grassley (R-IA) of the Senate Budget Committee and Senate Judiciary Committee, respectively, commented today, according to a press release:
“This conference is further evidence the federal government is in a state of financial chaos,” said Sessions. “How can anyone in Washington ask for more taxes when this culture of excess continues? Americans struggling to pay their bills are tired of watching the government throw lavish events on the taxpayer dime. They are tired of watching entire sectors of government behave in a fashion totally disconnected from the reality of our perilous financial state. At this time of fiscal crisis, America needs leadership that will restore accountability and ensure a disciplined budget is adopted at last.”
“Technology is so advanced that people are earning college degrees online and soldiers serving halfway across the world use Skype with their families at home,” Grassley added. “Likewise, a judicial circuit court should be capable of using technology to share information without requiring a trip to an island paradise. It’s especially tone-deaf to plan a pricey conference after the GSA debacle. The taxpayers can’t sustain this kind of spending, and they shouldn’t have to. The court should re-examine whether this is the best use of tax dollars.”