Judge Not The 9th Circuit? A Billion Dollar Courthouse We Don't Need

Following up on a Breitbart News exclusive, the report of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals’ planned plush vacation in Maui, additional research paints an image of self-satisfied government employees and politicians capable of spending millions, if not billions, of U.S. taxpayer dollars, while repeatedly ignoring facts and evidence demonstrating no real need for it beyond self-satisfaction and perhaps politics, all while America continues to sink further and further into massive debt well into the trillions of dollars.

Looking in through just one small window, framed by two extravagant and unnecessary taxpayer sponsored trips, rests a court house, ironically enough, within the same Ninth Circuit dealt with in the original Breitbart exclusive. Back in November, 2011, per a previous report, Rep. Jeff Denham, (R-CA), said of the court house, “Ten years ago, $400 million was appropriated for a building that still doesn’t exist, to house federal judges that don’t exist. This vacant lot in downtown LA could be sold and used for private sector growth to create jobs.”

Through news reports and document requests, Breitbart News has confirmed that the new court house would create a situation where more court rooms than federal judges exists, as projections of the future number of federal judges who would preside there did not pan out. Some tout it as a jobs project, though when first set to go forward, a lack of contractor interest was at least one factor attributed to previous delays. Additionally, no one seems to have taken into account the loss, in productivity, or potential tax revenue, the idle land has already accrued – and the estimated cost for the project ballooned upwards to close to a billion dollars, before finally being scaled back.

Finally, in January, it was reported that, “despite scrutiny from congressional Republicans looking for ways to cut the federal budget deficit” the project would go forward. The news was celebrated by local politicians and D.C. Democrats who have made the court house a priority and don’t seem open to an alternative that might allow private industry to buy the land, so that it might actually generate tax revenues, rather than drain them to operate. Presumably, any buildings, or portions of them currently housing judges who might ultimately sit there would be padlocked, or partially closed, for however many years it takes for action in that regard.

For his part, Denham continued to make clear his opposition at the time, “I think we should save $400 million and then actually sell the property…. Both parties need to come together and say, ‘Enough is enough.'” The latest news and threat to the court house being built is contained in a May 12 report, indicating that “the Republican-controlled House voted Wednesday night to prevent the Justice Department from spending money to staff the building.” It also suggests that effort may not survive the Senate, where California’s senate Democrats continue to insist it’s a priority.

In a final bit of irony, the court house drew the attention of Breitbart News when we began looking into the conference and travel habits of government officials in the wake of our Maui wowie! exclusive on an expensive Hawaian excursion planned by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, despite most other circuits cutting back, or canceling their annual conferences due to cost cutting concerns.

The allegedly must have new court house Democrats are demanding be built will be located within the same Ninth Circuit and was announced by former General Services Administration (GSA) head, Martha Johnson, who was expressly brought in by Barack Obama to help keep his commitment to end excessive, wasteful and out of control spending by Washington. Unfortunately, she’s now a “former” GSA head, as it seems she had some rather expensive conference travel habits of her own.

The report is jaw-dropping. It details page after page of over-the-top spending by the GSA. For instance, more than $100,000 just to plan a four-day Las Vegas conference for 300 people. Twenty-four bikes for a team-building exercise cost the agency $75,000.One reception cost $31,000 — more than $100 a person. The entertainment at the conference included a mind reader who was paid several thousand dollars. There was a GSA employee dressed in a rented clown suit and, by some accounts, a comedian. All-told, the conference cost $822,000. Taxpayer watchdog groups are appalled.

Given that the very same person who so grandly announced the now intended building of a court house within the Ninth Circuit was ousted for her own high flying, high spending travel habits on the taxpayer’s dime, one would think the Ninth Circuit would have had even more reason to curtail its conference plans in light of its own acknowledgement of government spending issues, as opposed to the other circuits who have actually done so.

Unfortunately, all this little look through a window at government spending as regards one allegedly unnecessary court house, framed by two extravagant pseudo-vacations dressed up as work trips to justify being paid for by taxpayers, is likely to cause your average citizen to do is look away in disgust at a seemingly smug, out of control government unable to control itself, or the impulse to spend taxpayer’s hard-earned dollars simply because it can and is empowered to do so by an increasingly failed Obama administration.