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Senators Sessions and Grassley Question Decision to Hold 9th Circuit Conference in Maui

Posted May 21, 2012 3:40 PM CDT
By Stephanie Francis Ward

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Maui will be hosting the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals’ annual conference this year, and two Republican U.S. Senators are questioning the wisdom of that, as the federal court system faces potential funding cuts.

The court conference, set to take place in August, is booked at the Hyatt Regency Maui, the Wall Street Journal Law Blog reports. Rooms cost between $230 and $250 a night. All of the circuit’s appellate, district and bankruptcy judges are expected to attend the three-day meeting.

Senators Jeff Sessions, ranking member of the Senate Budget Committee, and Charles Grassley, ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, expressed their views in a May 18 letter to 9th Circuit Chief Judge Alex Kozinski.

“We are concerned about the overall cost of this conference and do not believe that discussions about the administrative justice would be less successful were they held somewhere other than a spa and resort in Hawaii,” the letter states.

The 9th Circuit issued a statement in response today, noting that the conference is “authorized by law,” and meant to improve the court’s administration of justice.

“Judges and other attendees take seriously their obligation to participate fully in the conference,” the court’s statement reads. “Costs for lodging and air travel to attend the conference are comparative to those found at mainland venues.”

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