Wednesday, January 25, 2006
You gotta be kidding me: ABC News's chief investigative correspondent, Brian Ross, has broken an incredible story about an ethics scandal rocking the Supreme Court. (via Volokh)
At the historic swearing-in of John Roberts as the 17th chief justice of the United States last September, every member of the Supreme Court, except Antonin Scalia, was in attendance. ABC News has learned that Scalia instead was on the tennis court at one of the country's top resorts, the Ritz-Carlton hotel in Bachelor Gulch, Colo., during a trip to a legal seminar sponsored by the Federalist Society.
Not only did Scalia's absence appear to be a snub of the new chief justice, but according to some legal ethics experts, it also raised questions about the propriety of what critics call judicial junkets.
"It's unfortunate of course that what kept him from the swearing-in was an activity that is itself of dubious ethical propriety," said Stephen Gillers, a New York University law professor, who is a recognized scholar on legal ethics.
Scalia spent two nights at the luxury resort lecturing at the legal seminar where ABC News also found him on the tennis court, heading out for a fly-fishing expedition, and socializing with members of the Federalist Society, the conservative activist group that paid for the expenses of his trip.
I'm shocked! Shocked, I tell you, that Scalia would attend a legal seminar that he'd committed to long before and then actually enjoy himself, instead of going to a Washington swearing-in ceremony.
Q&O's Jon Henke makes an interesting point in the comments section about this trumped up "scandal."
Interestingly, there was somewhat less attention/intrigue surrounding Souter and Kennedy's non-attendance at the funeral service of Justice Rehnquist.
In fact, it seems ABC News' only mention of that was "Absent were Justices Anthony M. Kennedy and David Souter."
Make of that what you will.
Let me tell you what I make of that: If it had been Ginsburg at an American Constitutional Society legal seminar, this story would never have seen the light of day.
You know that there's really no scandal there, when this is all that Brian Ross can come up with.
*UPDATE* I'm watching Tuesday's "Special Report with Brit Hume" which has a short bit on the ABC News report. See if this additional doesn't change the appearance of this story and fully expose Brian Ross' bias.
Brit Hume: And speaking of the Supreme Court, ABC's "Nightline" last night reported that Justice Antonin Scalia missed the John Roberts swearing-in at the White House because he was playing tennis and going fly-fishing at a resort in Colorado courtesy of the conservative Federalist Society. The report mentioned only in passing that Scalia taught a legal seminar while on the trip. It quoted at some length New York University law professor Steven Gillers who said the whole thing was unethical. While "Nightline" identified the Federalist Society as conservative, it characterized Gillers only as an ethics expert. In fact, Gillers is a left-wing Scalia critic who once described the prospect of Republicans in control of both the White House and Congress as a nightmare. As for Scalia, that seminar he taught in Colorado was a 10-hour course for more than 100 lawyers and law students open to members and non-members alike of the Federalist Society. He received no fee for it; expenses only.