Thursday, June 23, 2016

Supreme Court Judges Receive Sponsored Trips

Justices Disclose Privately Paid Trips and Gifts
By ADAM LIPTAK | New York Times
"Justice Scalia was an enthusiastic traveler, taking more than 250 privately funded trips from 2004 to 2014... According to records obtained under an Australian freedom of information law, the University of Adelaide paid more than $38,000 for Justice Scalia, his wife and another couple to fly business class to a 2011 conference... Justice Stephen G. Breyer was the most active traveler last year, taking 19 paid trips... Justice Sonia Sotomayor was next, with 16 paid trips."

My Comments About The Article Above
Each earn a salary of $244,000 a year. This doesn't consider the extra loot they earn from speaking and teaching at universities, books sales and some from their stock investments. While they are not making as much as many congress members, it ain't chump change either.

Their 2015 financial disclosure forms can be found HERE. From what I see these reimbursed trips were for what you'd expect them to be. Speaking at universities and legal forums and the like. However I'm quite sure there was also time available to enjoy hospitalities, local activities and rub elbows with those who sponsored the trips.

Indeed many professionals go on paid business trips all the time. A company (sponsors) pays for them because they hope to benefit in some way. Questions naturally follow. What were the motives behind these invites? Where they all for the pursuit of academic knowledge and goodwill?

Perhaps, but I tend to think it raises the eyebrows of most who can only hope to be given just one all expense paid trip with absolutely no expectations nor strings attached. Given human nature I can't help but think there wasn't at least some self interest on the part of these sponsors no matter how well intended.

Of course the same criticism could be made against any public official receiving freebies.

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