Patterico's Pontifications


R.I.P., You [Expletive Deleted]

Filed under: Terrorism — Patterico @ 8:19 pm

Breaking News: the founder of Hamas has been killed.

Dump Doonesbury

Filed under: Miscellaneous — Patterico @ 9:56 am

Armed Liberal says the L.A. Times should drop Doonesbury.

I don’t really have a dog in this fight, since I don’t read the funny papers any more. Haven’t for years. But Ted Rall would be appalled by the suggestion, so I’ll support it.

Experts Disagree Regarding Scalia Recusal Refusal

Filed under: Judiciary — Patterico @ 8:43 am

Today, the New York Times and the Los Angeles Dog Trainer both run articles addressing the propriety of Justice Scalia’s decision not to recuse himself in the energy documents case. Both articles consult some of the usual suspects who have criticized Scalia over the past few weeks; predictably, they do so again in these articles. But both articles also feature experts who say Scalia has done nothing wrong.

The New York Times article quotes G. Edward White from the University of Virginia as saying:

Only the individual justice is capable of knowing if he or she is capable of rendering an impartial decision. On balance, I think that it was appropriate for Scalia to decide not to recuse himself.

Steven Lubet, who has been critical of Scalia in several articles and an op-ed in the Dog Trainer, acknowledges that the trip on Air Force Two was not a gift:

That answers the question of whether this was a gift. It wasn’t a gift.

Ronald D. Rotunda of George Mason says:

He’s a friend of the litigant on one side and a friend of the lawyer on the other side. Judges don’t have to drop out of life when they go on the bench.

. . . .

What the recusal standard cannot mean is that if a lot of editorial writers make fun of you then you have to recuse yourself. We take somebody and make him a judge. We typically lower his salary. We flyspeck his career. We dig up dirt on him. If on top of this you have to say, “You must divorce yourself from life,” it’s silly and it’s not what’s been done since the founding of the Republic.

In the Dog Trainer article, Harvard law professor Charles Fried used strong language to support Scalia:

Harvard’s Fried dismissed the concerns over Justice Scalia’s duck hunting trip with Vice President Dick Cheney as “utter garbage. It is contemptible, election-year garbage,” he said.

“Steve Breyer is one of my best friends, and he votes against me every time I appear in court. Washington is a town of government people, and it is stupid to say that if they sit together at dinner, it raises some sort of conflict.”

I don’t mean to imply that the experts unanimously supported Scalia; as I said, many do not. The experts simply disagree — which you might not have realized, what with the way this story has been blown up over the past several weeks.

Coming soon: let’s make up our own minds.

P.S. I find it interesting that the Dog Trainer article describes Justice White as a particular stickler on recusal issues, purportedly in contrast to Justice Scalia. The article begins as follows:

In the spring of 1989, Supreme Court Justice Byron White, once a star running back for the Detroit Lions, was the guest of the Detroit News at the annual press dinner of the Gridiron Club. When the paper’s publisher bought him a drink, White casually asked how the planned merger of the city’s two newspapers was going.

“It’s before your court,” the publisher informed White.

A few weeks later, the justices voted to take up the case — but without White. He had withdrawn from the deliberations, apparently concerned that his having just been the unwitting guest of a party to a case before the court might create an appearance of partiality.

The article uses this example to demonstrate that Justice White was “especially wary of appearing as though [he] favored one side or the other in a legal dispute.”

This is particularly interesting because, in his memorandum on the recusal issue, Justice Scalia cites a more analogous example involving Justice White as precedent for his own actions. Scalia explains that Justice White did not recuse himself from two cases which Robert Kennedy was litigating in his official capacity as Attorney General, despite the fact that Justice White went on a skiing vacation with Robert Kennedy while these cases were pending.

It is remarkable that the article sets up Justice White as a paragon of virtue on ethical/recusal issues, but does not mention Scalia’s very pertinent example.

Did the folks at the Dog Trainer even read Scalia’s memorandum?

Council Winners

Filed under: Watcher's Council — Patterico @ 7:52 am

The Watcher’s Council is a group of blogs that holds a weekly contest for blog entry of the week. Further details are available here. The winning posts are always worth checking out.

This week’s winners were announced here. Congratulations to Alpha Patriot for the winning Council entry, Winds of Change, and to Tim Blair for the winning non-Council entry, Spain After Aznar.

Powered by WordPress.

Page loaded in: 0.1725 secs.