Aloha Your Honor – Judges Plan $1 Million Taxpayer Funded Conference in Hawaii
COMMENTARY | Federal judges are having a little bit of fun in the sun, courtesy of the American taxpayer. The planned 9th Circuit Court conference at an unnamed Hawaiian resort and spa comes at a high price, even though the event planners interview claim “they got a good deal,” according to Fox News. Americans forced to skip their own family vacations this year due to the struggling economy will foot the bill for the more than $1 million Hawaii judicial conference.
Fox News show host Greta Van Susteren spoke with Iowa Republican Senator Chuck Grassley last night about the upcoming judicial conference in Maui. Grassley sent a letter questioning the expense to chief judge Alex Kozinski. According to excerpts from the letter discussed on-air by Grassley and Alabama Republican Senator Jeff Sessions, the judges feel the trip is justified because it was authorized, has occurred since 1944 and attendance is better when the judicial conference is held in Hawaii.
Grassley stated the group of judges appear to be very “unapologetic” and “unconcerned” about spending a million dollars on the Hawaii meeting. Grassley contends the majority of business could be taken care of via a teleconference. One of the workshops planned during the event involves learning how to use an iPad.
Sessions also noted that not all circuits exercise the option of hosting an annual conference. According to statements made by Sessions during the Greta Van Susteren interview, there are a dozen circuit courts and five are not holding conferences this year. The 9th circuit court has organized a judicial conference in Hawaii for the past nine years.
A total of 300 government workers will visit Hawaii on the taxpayers’ dime. Private attorneys are also invited to attend, some for the purpose of receiving awards. Grassley noted that half of the day is spent attending the conference and the remainder of the day is filled with recreational activities. The conference’s website states government funds are not used for the recreational desires of attendees, the Boise Weekly reports.