Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Quote of the day: So you thought hunting with the Veep was the only place Nino Scalia goes? Hardly! But what are we going to do about poor Souter?


"In 2005 [Justice Antonin Scalia] was the [Supreme] court's top globetrotter, with 24 expense-paid trips to locales domestic and overseas, including trips to Ireland, Turkey, Australia and--naturally--Italy.

"Law schools and legal groups paid for most of Scalia's travel, although Italian heritage organizations; media giant Time Warner Inc.; the Knights of Columbus in Baton Rouge, La.; and New York's Juilliard performing arts school, of all places, also helped out."

--from a note by Charles Lane on Justice Scalia's finally filed financial disclosure form (he was the only Supreme Court justice to file for an extension) in yesterday's Washington Post

Hey, did you get as much as a post card from our globetrotting justice?

In case you were wondering, among our supremes Anthony Kennedy (at 15 paid trips, foreign and domestic) and Stephen Breyer (at 14) were the distant runners-up. In fairness to Justice Kennedy, though, he did manage to log the entire month of July, except for a side trip to Prague, in beautiful Salzburg, Austria.

At the other end of the spectrum: "Several of today's justices are positive homebodies," notes Lane. "Justices John Paul Stevens and Clarence Thomas reported no paid foreign trips in 2005; the famously solitary Justice David H. Souter reported no paid trips anywhere."

For the record, even though no one asked, just this past Friday I took a trip to Governors Island, the little island--much of it, I learned, actually landfill from the excavation of the Lexington Avenue subway--last used as a Coast Guard base, about a four-minute ferry ride off the southernmost tip of Manhattan [seen at the top in our photo]. (That's four minutes' actual sailing time, not counting unmooring and mooring.)

Also for the record, the trip was entirely self-financed, including the snacks bought from one of the machines in the ferry waiting room on the island. (Um, local cuisine? They serve a mean KitKat.) Apart from the snacks, actually, the trip was free, having been offered on Fridays and Saturdays this summer by some agency or other, presumably to stimulate awareness of the island, which as far as I know usually isn't open to the public, though most of it--all but the 22 acres that make up Governors Island National Monument--has been sold back to New York City and State by the federal government for a dollar. The geniuses who handle such matters are still trying to figure out what to do with it.

For the record finally, there isn't a whole lot to see on the island. You do have spectacular views of New York Harbor, including the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island, the New Jersey coast opposite, and Staten Island and the Lower Manhattan skyline to either side [all off to the left of our photo; you know what they look like, right?]. But then, you can get those views just by riding the Staten Island Ferry. And unfortunately, not much of the island was actually open to the public. It wasn't possible, for example, to get to the other side, which is separated from the Brooklyn shoreline by the picturesquely named Buttermilk Channel [at right in our photo]. (I'm guessing that the name is a deal more picturesque than the channel itself.)

It seemed as if you had to pay for the official guided tour, so I went with the self-guided version from the useful handout provided free. It was nice. I caught the 3:30 ferry back. Howie often mentions all these exotic places he's been, and I just didn't want you thinking that I never go anywhere.

Now I feel bad, though. If I'd known, it would have been nice to ask poor Justice Souter if he might like to come along.


Post a Comment

<< Home