Doug Kendall of the Community Rights Council filed an ethics complaint against Sixth Circuit Judge Danny Boggs for serving on the board of FREE, a Montana-based free market environmentalist group that, among other things, runs education seminars for federal judges. Chief Judge Loken rejected the complaint, and wrote, "Reasonable people, unlike the complainant, do not presume a lack of integrity and impartiality from a judge's association with legitimate judicial education, no matter how controversial." And later (alluding also to related allegations against D.C. Circuit Judge Doug Ginsburg): "there is no factual foundation to support an inference of wrongdoing by anyone ... Rather these allegations typify the character assassination that is all too common in our nation's capital.... By use of this tactic, it is the complainant who is undermining public confidence in the integrity and impartiality of the judiciary, not the judges complained of." Ouch!
[Full disclosure: the president of FREE once asked me to draft a memo for him on Daubert, noting that he was considering inviting me to speak on that topic at one of their judicial seminars. I did the work for "free", but never got invited to speak. CRC has been critical of George Mason's Law and Economics Center, which provides Summer research money to me, and from which I have received other remuneration, though never related to the judicial education programs CRC criticizes. Judge Ginsburg is a faculty colleague at George Mason, where he serves as a Distinguished Adjunct. Doug Kendall and I were summer associates and associates together at the same law firm; we had relatively little, but cordial, contact.]