Somebody tell me what possible legitimate reason can Time Warner have for paying for a trip for a Supreme Court Justice? There is no way common citizens can afford to financially compete for the attention of judges and politicians when there are so many rich lobbyists and powerful corporations buying the time and the attention of the people who are supposed to represent us and uphold the law. It is very clear that money is the only thing that speaks these days.
Maybe the people need to form a lobby. Let’s just call it the Bribery Lobby. At least we will be honest about our intentions. There are very few pubic officials left who actually work for the public so let’s get smart about this. After all, most people are not willing to beat them, so they might as well join them. Think about it!
Justice Antonin Scalia was the Supreme Court’s most frequent traveler last year with 24 expense-paid trips that took him as far as Ireland, Italy, Turkey and Australia.
Law schools and legal groups paid for most of Scalia’s travel, although Italian heritage organizations, media giant Time Warner Inc., the Roman Catholic Diocese of Louisiana and the Juilliard School also covered some trips.
The information was included in Scalia’s financial disclosure report, filed earlier this month. The other eight justices’ finances for 2005 were disclosed in June. Scalia received an extension.
Scalia also is one of at least six millionaires among the nine justices, with assets of $1.1 million to $2.6 million.
The bulk of his holdings are in a trust valued at $500,000 to $1 million, a money market fund with $250,000 to $500,000, and a retirement fund from his days as a law professor that is worth $100,000 to $250,000.
Scalia supplemented his $203,000 annual court salary with $21,900 for part-time teaching and a book review in the conservative journal First Things.
He traveled twice to Italy in 2005, spending a week in Rome and Palermo, Italy, in May courtesy of the National Italian American Foundation. Scalia returned to Rome in September for a conference. That trip was paid by an organization called the Mentor Group.
Trinity College in Melbourne, Australia, paid for Scalia’s trip Down Under in October. The National University of Ireland in Galway sponsored Scalia in February. The University of Kansas School of Law sent the justice to Istanbul, Turkey, for 11 days in July.
Like other federal officials, the justices each year report their assets, including gifts and earnings, but in broad ranges of thousands of dollars instead of exact amounts. In addition, the justices are required to provide some details of reimbursements they receive for travel.
Justice Anthony M. Kennedy took 15 expense-paid trips and Justice Stephen Breyer made 14 in 2005.
The other millionaires on the court are Chief Justice John Roberts, Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, David Souter, John Paul Stevens and Breyer. Justice Samuel Alito might be in that category as well, with assets of $665,000 to $1.7 million.
Justices are paid $203,000 each year. The chief justice’s salary is $212,100.