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They Might Have the Worst Record of SCOTUS Reversals, But At Least They Know How to Party

Each of the federal circuits has an annual conference.  They are held mostly so that everyone on board, the circuit judges, district judges and court personnel, gets to know one another in a relaxed setting.  Often a few prominent attorneys practicing in the circuit will be invited as well.

In a time of tight budgets, when some of these very courts are ordering prisoner releases (the Ninth Circuit in particular, in the notorious Plata case), one can reasonably question whether conferences of this sort are worth the candle.  My personal opinion is that they are.  Some of the issues courts are now called upon to resolve are so contentious, and arouse such strong feelings, that it's best for the judges to have the chance to know one another as something other than the hothead down the hall who fires off bizarre memos and hires weird clerks.

Still, one must wonder why the Ninth Circuit felt it necessary to convene in the Hyatt Regency Maui Resort and Spa.  The travel costs alone are quite steep; maybe Burbank would do better.  Plus some might view this as having a tin ear, given the recent GSA frolics in Las Vegas.  

Not every circuit is so lavish.  As the article notes, "Others aim to keep costs low by holding conferences at lower cost venues. For the Washington D.C. Circuit, that means Farmington, Penn., where they can stay in $110 per night accommodations."

(Full disclosure:  My wife and I will be attending the D.C. Circuit conference, shelling out our own expenses.)

CORRECTION:  I thank reader federalist for reminding me that the Plata decision was rendered to start with by a three-judge district court that was doing its best Ninth Circuit imitation, but not the Ninth Circuit itself.

UPDATE:  Roll Call notes that a few prominent senators have also taken an interest in the Ninth Circuit's Hawaii conference, and have some questions for Chief Judge Alex Kozinski.

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