The Washington Post

Maui judicial conference still a go.

Hamoa Beach in Maui, Hawaii. (Ron Dahlquist/Associated Press)

Better sign up now, it could be the last great one in paradise.

Bowing to demands by the Senate Judiciary Committee’s ranking Republican, Sen. Charles Grassley (Iowa) and Budget Committee ranking member Jeff Sessions (Ala.), the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit announced Friday it would postpone its 2013 conference in California to 2014. (Maui’s still on, however.)

The move “responds to the current budget constraints facing the federal judiciary and the federal government in general,” the announcement said.

The most obvious concern about Maui, aside from the idea of having a million-dollar conference in an island paradise, would be sending some 150 of the circuit’s district and appellate judges from eight western states — plus an equal number of employees and government lawyers — to Hawaii rather than have Hawaii’s five judges fly to the mainland. (More than half the circuit’s judges are in California.)

“An encouraging sign,” Grassley said Monday of the judges’ move, but not good enough. There’s no indication that this year’s conference is going to be scaled back or that future conference expenses will be kept down. The senators still want Maui canceled or scaled back. (Uh, oh, there goes the Zumba.)

Well, if you can’t go to Maui, the 2014 conference is at the Hyatt Regency in Monterey, — not quite Maui but hardly the Toledo Motel 6 after all.

Al Kamen, an award-winning columnist on the national staff of The Washington Post, created the “In the Loop” column in 1993.


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