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Judges admit they goofed on taxpayer-funded Hawaii conference

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Sen. Chuck Grassley

Under fire from prominent Senate Republicans, the chief judge of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals says that, looking back, they probably made a bad decision when they scheduled a judges’ meeting, at taxpayers’ expense, in famously expensive Hawaii.

“In hindsight, had we foreseen the nation’s current fiscal problems, we may have chosen a different site for this year’s conference,” Judge Alex Kozinski wrote Sens. Chuck Grassley and Jeff Sessions.

Judge Kozinsky said the judges have moved to reschedule their 2013 conference to 2014 in order to minimize expenses and said they will try to find cheaper places in future years.

According to contract data the judges turned over to the senators, the conference booked 550 rooms for four nights and 250 rooms for another two nights. Each of those 550-room nights came to more than $125,000.

Judge Kozinsky said that the judges signed their contract for this year’s conference in 2010 in order to lock in a room rate and that canceling it now would lead to “enormous penalties.”

In 2010 the federal government ran its second year of trillion-dollar deficits and is headed for a fourth year in fiscal 2012.

About the Author

Stephen Dinan

Stephen Dinan can be reached at sdinan@washingtontimes.com.

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