Yesterday, Dan Riehl of Breitbart News broke the story about judges from the notoriously liberal Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals getting ready to spend about a million dollars of taxpayer money on a lavish vacation. Breitbart News published a report 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.“
Today, the Ninth Circuit issued a response:
The Ninth Circuit is in receipt of the May 18, 2012, letter from Senators Grassley and Sessions, Ranking Members of the Senate Judiciary and Senate Budget Committees, respectively, regarding the upcoming Ninth Circuit Judicial Conference. The letter is being reviewed at this time and a response to the Senators will be forthcoming.
As part of the Third Branch of government, the Ninth Circuit is fully aware of its responsibilities as a steward of public funds. The conference is authorized by law “for the purpose of considering the business of the courts and advising means of improving the administration of justice within the circuit.” [§ 28 U.S.C. Sec. 333] The conference fully adheres to these goals, providing an exceptional educational program and the opportunity to conduct numerous business meetings that further circuit governance. Judges and other attendees take seriously their obligation to participate fully in the conference. Costs for lodging and air travel to attend the conference are comparative to those found at mainland venues. Any sporting and recreational activities are paid for by individuals and are not reimbursable.
According to Riehl’s story, “Judges from the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, federal district and bankruptcy courts in nine Western states and two Pacific island territories, along with lawyers practicing in those courts, and court staff, will gather at the luxurious Hyatt Regency Maui Resort and Spa from August 13 – 16, 2012 in what looks like a less than valiant attempt to ensure American justice is being served…at a cost to taxpayers of approximately one million dollars.”
It seems the Ninth Circuit will spend a lot of time answering the questions from the senators, and the publicity given them by Breitbart News forced the Ninth Circuit to take the letter from the senators more seriously than they had before.