The Strange Effort to Limit Judicial Education:
David B. blogs below about an amendment to limit judicial seminars; I have posted the text of the amendment here. As I read it, there are two parts. The first part caps the value of reimbursement for a judicial trip at $1,500 per trip, and $5,000 per year total unless it is officially sponsored by one of the listed official allowed sponsors. The second part bars all reimbursement for any trip if a significant purpose is "judicial education" unless it is officially sponsored by one of the listed official allowed sponsors.

  I have to say, I find this pretty bizarre. The first part seems designed to keep judges from taking reimbursed trips far away for more than a day or two (as at that point the value is likely to exceed $1,500). Or, if they want to stay for more than that, they need to start paying their own way or stay at a cheaper hotel. The second part is even weirder, as it seems to want to make sure that judges aren't educated unless it's a Congressionally-allowed group doing the educating. I guess the last thing you want is judges bein' too edumucated!

  I find the "approved groups" in the amendment rather strange, too. If a group of defense attorneys wants to put on a conference to teach judges about the intricacies of criminal procedure law, the judges have to pay their own way — every penny. On the other hand, if the Justice Department wants to put on the same conference for judges, slanted in the government's direction, it can be 5-star hotels and golf all around. The only way the defense attorneys can get around the bar is by forming (or taking over) a "subject matter bar association," which then restores their ability to offer reimbursement.

  What a strange amendment. I certainly hope it ends up going nowhere.