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During Summer Recess, Supreme Court Justices Become Globe-Trotters

Supreme Court justices, now on a three-month summer recess, like to use that time to travel — and have other people pick up the tab.Financial disclosure reports for 1999, released late last month, show the justices left the nation’s capital for fully subsidized trips to four other continents — Australia, Europe, Asia and South America — and dozens of American cities last summer.Universities and others were only too glad to pay for the excursions for the honor of featuring a justice as a teacher or speaker. Spouses often get all expenses paid also.Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg was a guest lecturer at Tulane University law school’s summer program in Greece. (She traveled to the Netherlands as a guest lecturer the previous February.)Justice Stephen G. Breyer took on lecturing duties in Austria and Chile.Justice Sandra Day O’Connor made it to Japan for a speech and discussions with faculty and students at Doshisha University in Kyoto. She also participated in conferences and meetings in Scotland and the Czech Republic.Auckland, New Zealand, was Justice Antonin Scalia’s destination for a weeklong seminar sponsored by the University of Auckland. He also taught for two weeks at Hofstra University’s summer law school program in Nice, France.Justice Anthony M. Kennedy made it to Salzburg, Austria, as a teacher for University of the Pacific’s McGeorge School of Law, and to Moscow, London and Edinburgh, Scotland, for others.Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist got his expenses paid for teaching at the University of London but turned over a $2,000 honorarium to his church.Justice Clarence Thomas stayed stateside, giving speeches and judging moot court competitions at Brigham Young University in Utah, the University of Montana and the University of Chicago, among others.Justice John Paul Stevens was reimbursed for trips to speak at the Gerald Ford museum in Grand Rapids, Mich., and at a University of Iowa event.Only Justice David H. Souter, the court’s ascetic New Englander who likes to spend virtually all summer at his home outside Concord, N.H., listed no reimbursed trips for 1999.