Supreme Court Justices Report Road Trips
Friday, June 9, 2006; 10:48 PM
WASHINGTON -- Supreme Court justices crisscrossed the world last year, with stops in Bangkok, Paris, London and Prague, and less-exotic places like Omaha, Neb., and Morgantown, W. Va.
Financial disclosure reports released Friday show that several justices got out of Washington a good bit in 2005 at the expense of law schools and legal groups. The reports also show new Chief Justice John Roberts easily in the ranks of the court's millionaires.
Roberts and Justice Samuel Alito, both nominated last year, accepted free trips just twice last year. The trips were sponsored by universities and were made before Roberts and Alito were picked by President Bush. Roberts taught a law school class in London last July, shortly before his nomination to the high court.
Roberts also reported that he sold stock in about a dozen companies last fall, including Coca-Cola Co., Fairmont Hotels & Resorts Inc., and drug-maker AstraZeneca PLC. He kept stock in dozens of other companies, however, including Time Warner Inc., Blockbuster Inc., Microsoft Corp. and Walt Disney Co.
Justices cannot participate in cases involving companies in which they hold stock.
Like other top elected and appointed federal officials, the justices each year report their assets, including gifts and earnings, but in ranges of thousands of dollars and not exact amounts. In addition, the justices are required to provide some details of reimbursements they receive for travel.
The reports, which cover 2005, do not include the value of their residences.
The most frequent travelers on the court were Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, with 15 expense-paid trips, and Justice Stephen Breyer, with 14.
Kennedy visited Thailand for a meeting of Asian judges, lectured at Hong Kong University, taught a course in Salzburg, Austria, and attended an American Bar Association meeting in Prague, Czech Republic.
Breyer was in Paris for an ABA event, took part in a project on terrorism and the law in Bellagio, Italy, lectured in Melbourne, Australia, and attended events in Bordeaux, France, and Jerusalem. Closer to home, he spoke in Boston and Des Moines, Iowa.
Among the other justices' travel: Justice John Paul Stevens took a trip to Chicago to throw out the first pitch of a Cubs game and speak to a group of lawyers, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg spoke at West Virginia University in Morgantown and the University of Kansas in Lawrence and Justice Clarence Thomas taught at Creighton University in Omaha, Neb.
Once again, Justice David H. Souter was the least-traveled justice. He reported one trip, to Harvard Law School. Souter took no paid trips the previous two years.