Earlier this year we posted about how Iowa Senator Charles Grassley was unhappy that the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit was having a judicial conference in Maui. Senator Grassley thought the conference was too expensive. In response, the Ninth Circuit politely suggested that Senator Grassley put a sock in it.
Senator Grassley is still unhappy that the conference took place. How do we know this? Because last week he mentioned the conference again in a letter to Judge Thomas Hogan. Judge Hogan is the director of the administrative office for the federal court system.
The ostensible purpose of Senator Grassley's letter is to discuss whether the administrative office has a plan to handle budget cuts should sequestration actually take place. However, took Senator Grassley three paragraphs to mention the Maui conference as a event that does "not appear to justify the travel expense." Senator Grassley goes on to list plans for reduction in non-case related travel as part of the five pieces of information he wants Judge Hogan to provide regarding the impact of sequestration. Given how little information Senator Grassley got when he last mentioned the Maui conference, one has to regard mentioning it again as a triumph of hope over experience.
Who will win this contest pitting co-equal branches of government against each other? My guess is that the folks with tenure for life will outlast a guy who has to get re-elected every six years.