LSBA House Rejects Resolution on Expense-Paid CLE Trips by Judges

media-re-judgesEvery year it seems, the media shines a light on judges attending out-of-town CLE programs hosted by, among others, the Louisiana State Bar Association and the Louisiana Judicial College. According to one 2015 report, judges are participating in a “free-wheeling culture of CLE travel” using a “judicial pork fund that allows judges to waste public dollars on, essentially, state-funded family vacations.” See WWL-TV Report, “Dozens of La. Judges Spend Public Money at Luxury Resorts.”

While these reports accurately report that the Louisiana Supreme Court permits judges to be reimbursed for such travel, they often fail to mention that these CLE programs are often rich in practical content. Furthermore, the reports ignore that these programs foster professionalism and collegiality among members of the bench and bar.

In an effort to address these perceived problems, the LSBA House of Delegates considered a resolution at its January 16, 2016 meeting, to address “unwarranted attacks on the legal profession and judiciary in the media” that “undermine public confidence in the administration of justice and the rule of law.” See Resolution of the LSBA House of Delegates to Develop and Implement a Public Information and Media Strategy (Dec. 9, 2015). More particularly, the resolution called for the LSBA to implement a “public information and media strategy” to respond to the “unwarranted attacks” in a “timely, effective, and responsible manner.” Id.

By a vote of 82-70, the LSBA House of Delegates rejected the resolution.