Thursday, June 23, 2005

Weekly Question: No Such Thing as a FREE Lunch?

Question 1:  Should law professors and/or judges accept expenses paid seminars from groups that have a particular political perspective or agenda, such as FREE?

Question 2: Should judges serve on the Boards of such organizations?

According to the Washington Post, Judge James Loken recently dismissed a complaint against Judge Danny Boggs, chief judge of the 6th Circuit, for serving on the Board of Directors of the Foundation for Research in Economics and Environment (FREE).  FREE provides expenses-paid seminars for federal judges and law professors exploring various environmental issues from free market economic perspectives.  The FREE seminars tend to provide at least nominal participation from other perspectives.  The complaint by Community Rights Counsel alleged that service on the Board created an appearance of partiality because FREE accepts contributions by various corporations.  Justice Steve Breyer may review Loken's decision to dismiss the complaint.

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