The Associated Press has an excellent summary of the issues raised yesterday regarding judicial ethics and federal judges' membership on the board of junketing organizations:
A federal judge has resigned from the board of a corporate-funded group that provides free seminars and trips to judges after a judicial ethics panel recommended he quit. Two other judges remain on the board, either unaware of the ethics advice or unconcerned by it.
U.S. District Judge Andre Davis of Baltimore said he resigned from the board of the Montana-based Foundation for Research on Economics and the Environment soon after he received a private opinion from the federal judiciary's Codes of Conduct Committee.
The panel concluded, Davis said, that "there was, shall we say, tension between one or more of the canons that applied to federal judges and the appearance of a judge, federal judge, as a member of the board of directors" of the foundation.
Simply put, the confidentiality that Judge Quist invoked in his response letter yesterday has already been waived by the judge involved. Everyone already knows that the Committee's opinion advises against service on FREE's board; why can't the public have the benefit of its analysis?.
Meanwhile, the NY Times has strongly endorsed Senator Feingold's proposal to ban most judicial junkets, as well as the larger judicial pay raise it would be tied to, on today's editorial page. Markup of the bill is expected later this afternoon; stay tuned for updates...