See below….and it is absurd that the 9th Circuit is traveling to Hawaii for their annual conference. There are many, many, many (thousands?) of other places they could do it — some even free! If this is really business, how about a California high school gym — the public schools are off for the summer and the travel cost would be minimal. The reason why not a gym? This is really a pleasure conference. The 9th Circuit can spin it all they want but we just aren’t the dumb…except we are dumb enough to let them have the budget to do it.
(By the way, these judicial conferences are held all over the country by different circuits and include BOTH lawyers and judges, and as a lawyer and thus an insider, I assure you the conferences are not necessary no matter how much the lawyers and judges who attend tell you to the contrary. In fact, for years the lawyers in DC who I knew went to these conferences LAUGHED about them…eg which judge got drunk, who said something stupid, the food, etc.)
I would have a completely different opinion if this were not in Hawaii, and it it were paid for by the participants and not the taxpayers. With an unemployment level so high these conferences should not be held on the taxpayer dime. It is not fair to the taxpayers regardless of the value of lawyers and judges meeting. This is just not the time. The judges should tighten their belts and show others the right way to do this in these tough economic times.
Statement from Circuit and Court of Appeals Executive Cathy A. Catterson Regarding the Inquiry from Senators Grassley and Sessions
“The Ninth Circuit today provided its response to an inquiry from Senators Grassley and Sessions, Ranking Members of the Senate Judiciary and Senate Budget Committees, respectively, regarding the Ninth Circuit Judicial Conference. Our response explains in detail the purpose and history of the Conference, the statutory authority under which it is held, its importance in meeting the ongoing educational needs of the federal bench and bar, and how it advances circuit governance. We also have provided information on who attends the conference and the regulations pertaining to travel by judges and judiciary staff attending the event.
“The practice of law in the federal courts is always challenging and frequently changing. The Ninth Circuit Judicial Conference enables judges, lawyers and court administrators to keep pace by providing an exceptional educational program and the opportunity to efficiently conduct numerous business meetings in one place at one time. The Conference is cost efficient and a productive investment into the administration of justice in the western states.”