Billionaire George Soros, a naturalized American citizen born in Hungary, takes a lively interest in the politics of his adopted country. Soros, who made his first big killing in the field of international finance by betting against the British pound, spent $24 million of his own hard-earned money trying to defeat George W. Bush and elect John Kerry in the presidential election of 2004. He is now plowing millions more into supporting such leftist agitprop organizations as MoveOn.org, to influence the coming congressional elections. And, apparently equally discontented with the political direction of various European countries, he is reportedly putting even greater sums (apparently in the hundreds of millions of dollars) into ventures to influence the politics of those nations.
So it may seem like nitpicking to call attention to a smaller beneficiary of Soros' largess, the Community Rights Counsel. But the CRC has been busy since 1998 blasting away at the federal judiciary, all too many of whose members (in Soros' opinion) are succumbing to the blandishments of two evil conservative organizations: the Foundation for Research on Economics and the Environment (FREE) of Bozeman, Mont. and the Law & Economics Center (LEC) of George Mason University in Virginia.
It is the practice of FREE and LEC to invite federal judges and law professors to attend educational seminars, which CRC describes as "lavish" affairs held at fancy "resorts," where they are allegedly brainwashed on such dangerously conservative subjects as property rights. Worse yet, FREE and LEC reimburse the attendants for their travel and lodging expenses. (Not that there is anything unlawful about that: The rules of the federal judiciary entitle judges to recover such out-of-pocket expenses.)
Still, CRC's loud complaints have roused a certain amount of uneasiness in Congress, among members of both parties. House Judiciary Committee chairman James Sensenbrenner, R-Wis., and Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, of the Senate Judiciary Committee have both introduced bills that would require the chief justice to appoint an inspector general of the federal judiciary, who would report annually both to him and to Congress and report any judicial misconduct to the Justice Department. Such an encroachment on judicial independence raises serious constitutional issues.
William Rusher is a Distinguished Fellow of the Claremont Institute for the Study of Statesmanship and Political Philosophy and author of How to Win Arguments .
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