Justice Antonin Scalia took 258 trips paid-for trips before he died at the private estate of a wealthy businessman. His liberal colleague, Justice Stephen Breyer, was not far behind. Between 2004 and 2014, he took 185 paid-for trips. If Judge Brett Kavanaugh is confirmed, he will almost certainly be packing his bags for some fun trips, paid by his hosts. That’s because all nine of the current justices take these paid trips.
Consider that Justice Samuel Alito traveled in 2013 to the luxurious Casa de Campo Resort in the Dominican Republic.
His liberal counterpart, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, is a guest lecturer for the Rome Study Law Abroad Program this summer. Also this summer, she is traveling to Israel to receive two awards.
The striking photo for this post has Justice Scalia and Justice Kagan posing at Mississippi hunting resort in December 2014.
Conservative groups do a better job of cultivating long-term relationships with justices who think along the same lines. Justice Scalia took 21 trips sponsored by the Federalist Society, some to upscale places such as Park City, Utah and Napa, California.
The bad news is that this is perfectly legal, even if some of these trips don’t pass the smell-good test. Scalia’s death poses that very situation: He died during a paid-for trip on the property of a man whose business had a discrimination case pending before the Supreme Court.
In all these trips, the justices were speaking to a group. That’s a good thing insofar as they are educating an audience. But increasingly, their audience amounts to their own echo chamber. And their speaking engagements amount to frolics with elites in posh locations.
That's how justice speaks today.