The chief administrator for the U.S. Courts says Sen. Charles Grassley’s (R-Iowa) criticism of judicial travel expenses is misplaced.
“Travel is of course one area of consideration for cost reduction, including funding for circuit judicial conferences,” Thomas F. Hogan told Grassley today in a letter. “[But] even if non-case related travel by judges were to be eliminated completely, it would amount to less than one percent of the $555 million sequestration.”
Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) cited $1 million spent on a conference in Maui, Hawaii, for the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, as an example of spending that should be cut in the face of the “fiscal cliff” that could require drastic automatic cuts in federal budgets. If Congress and the White House do not reach a budget deal, sequestration will go into effect the federal courts would face an 8.2 percent cut, or $555 million.
Hogan said the Executive Committee of the Judicial Conference of the United States has been working on a sequestration plan over the past year. Hogan described the committee’s attempt to balance the cuts while maintaining the integrity of the work of the judiciary.
In a Nov. 8 letter, Grassley suggested curtailing travel. “The savings could go a long way towards filling the funding shortfalls your office identified,” he wrote.
“The Judicial Conference must recognize our country is in a dire fiscal situation and understand that we must make sacrifices across the federal government in order to live within our means, just as the American people do,” Grassley said in a statement today. “The effort to find cost savings must leave no stone unturned. Excessive and extravagant spending simply won’t be tolerated by the taxpayers who are footing the bill.”