Professor of Law Monroe Freedman was quoted in the following ABA Journal article.
University Club ‘Public Service’ Discount for Justices Causing a Stir
By Terry Carter
March 10, 2009
The University Club of Washington, D.C., believes it has found a way to bring back U.S. Supreme Court justices and federal judges who had to give up their free memberships because of a new law prohibiting “an honorary club membership with a value of more than $50 in any calendar year.”
The club recently replaced the “Honorary Membership” with a new and deeply discounted “Public Service Membership” category. It is only for justices and judges who previously had the free memberships.
Typically, members over age 35 pay $3,400 annually ($185 monthly dues and $100 monthly minimum food and beverage purchase) and that is on top of a $5,000 initiation fee.
The justices and judges now pay $588 a year. Their savings in comparison to other members: $2,812.
Some believe that looks like a gift valued at more than $50.
“Somebody is making pretzels out of breadsticks here,” says Monroe Freedman, the legal ethicist who teaches at the Hofstra University School of Law. “They’re clearly playing games with the statute.”
Congress put the kibosh on the freebie by way of an amendment to a bill known as S. 3296, which went into effect Jan. 1. The primary legislation concerned extending authority of Supreme Court police to protect justices away from the court’s grounds. The amendment was tacked on by Sen. Jon Kyl, R-Ariz.