In a news item first reported and championed by Breitbart News, (see here and here for more) the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals have a long way to go for the "Maui Wowie" vacation it insists on taking. The Court also appears to have a long way to go toward providing answers to Senators Sessions and Grassley as regards the courts extravagant conference spending.
As reported in May, at issue is a 9th Circuit judicial conference at the Hyatt Regency Maui Resort and Spa from August 13 - 16, 2012 that will cost taxpayers approximately one million dollars.
Today The Hill reports, "GOP staff on the Budget Committee said the information it has seen so far shows the Ninth Circuit could have been pared back in May, when they started asking questions about it, with minimal charges." Staff also noted that the Ninth Circuit could have taken steps such as reserving rooms with a resort view rather than an ocean view, and taken more modest rooms. Rooms reserved range from $650 a day to $1,500 a day.
Senate staff has also noted that while the conference is slated for Aug. 13-16, the 9th Circuit reserved rooms from Aug. 10-17, in line with a golf tournament before the conference even opens. It's apparent that 9th Circuit Chief Judge Alex Kozinski did not take steps to reduce cost when he might have once Sessions and Grassley began asking questions.
GOP staff has not finished reviewing the contract and wants to assess whether the Ninth Circuit has some sort of agreement with Hyatt Resorts Hawaii, and also has questions involving complimentary rooms being used by conference planners.
According to Kozinski, justice is indeed blind, including to the state of the American economy, as he seems to have missed economic concerns on most everyone else's mind when he responded, "In hindsight, had we foreseen the nation's current fiscal problems, we may have chosen a different site for this year's conference."