Ninth Circuit planning lavish conference at Maui Hyatt
You say you’re in the middle of an economic rough patch and had to cancel out-of-state vacations for the foreseeable future?
You’ll be pleased to know that despite the recent GSA Vegas scandal
and an explosive national debt, federal judges from the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals
remain confident in federal taxpayers’ ability to fund another year of fun in the sun for them and their staff.
This year, for the fourth time in a decade, the federal purveyors of justice chose the luxurious Hyatt in Maui, Hawaii, as the plushy nook to disrobe, spout poignant legalese and party like it’s still 1999, according to a Fox News report.
But the dapper, big-spending super-circuit bench sitters apparently have a tin ear when it comes to political judgment. While everyone from Sen. Charles Grassley to the Drudge report is charging the 9th Circuit with public display of sloth and making unethical plans for wasting another $1 million on margaritas and masseurs as the economy languishes like a beached whale – the judges are pleading the Fifth.
Not that sunning and funning is anything new for the California justices. While some might say picturing Chief Judge Alex Kozinski - the Michael Moore
of legal opinion - in swim trunks is unpardonable, the party animals of 9th Circuit Court frequently hold annual conferences in upscale resorts and spas across the west. While many federally funded circuits are busy canceling their annual limo limbo excursions or scaling back to relatively cost conscious upper middle-class resorts to save face, it’s no holds barred for California’s black-robed dispensers of justice. Did I mention that California’s Gov. Jerry Brown
- the former journeyman hippy with a knack for making Vice President Biden sound lucid - recently proposed tax hikes and state employee layoffs to pay for a $16 billion dollar shortfall in that state?
Back in 2011 when the economic recovery taxpayers are basking in was little more than a “Yes, we can” campaign slogan, the 9th Circuit conference was held at the ritzy La Costa Resort and Spa in southern California. In 2009 the surfing servers of justice held their annual conference at the Hyatt Regency in Monterey, Calif. – no word on what topics the judicial geniuses conferred on, so readers might want to use their imagination. As for the Hawaii conferences, the judges set off for the Kaua'i Hyatt Regency in 2003, the Waikiki Sheraton in Honolulu in 2007 and the Maui Hyatt Regency in 2010. Not that’s there’s anything wrong with federal workers spending millions of dollars to hold annual “conferences” while the government promises your first born to China to secure a $16 trillion debt.
"This is a big deal," Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., told Fox News Tuesday
. "We have too much of this lack of discipline. We do not have the money to waste on these kinds of projects." Talk about understating the obvious. The horse left that barn many years before anyone in Washington DC noticed the door was open.
Luckily for taxpayers, Circuit Court Executive Cathy Catterson issued a written response to the complaints Monday afternoon, explaining that the extravagant Hawaiian set up is legal.
"As part of the Third Branch of government, the 9th Circuit is fully aware of its responsibilities as a steward of public funds," Catterson said, noting the conference is "authorized by law" for the purposes of considering court business and ways to improve the administration of justice.
The official website for the conference stresses that "government funds are not used for any recreational or sporting activities."
However, a statement from United States Senators Sessions and Charles Grassley estimates the costs of the trip at more than $1 million with accommodations alone coming in at $500,000 considering room rates of between $230 and $250 per night for four nights.
Meanwhile, Congress is locked in a partisan battle over raising the federal debt ceiling another trillion or two, again.