Re: ~e; Cheney's Supreme Court Justice
Sun, 18 Jan 2004 14:15:17 -0500
Internet Messaging Program (IMP) 4.0-cvs
wow, this is an amazing report. it would be interesting to know who the other
seven participants in the hunting weekend were, besides cheney and scalia.
and i agree with brian, common/general ethics would require scalia to recuse
himself from this deliberation, his hair-splitting distinction of "reasonably"
is laughable and deplorable.
Quoting human being <email@example.com>:
> regarding the .US Energy Task Force investigation:
> after falling off my chair reading this, it was thought
> this surprise gift from the news could be shared to
> offer some context to the invisible goings-on of the
> .US Energy Task Force process and papers which
> are going to be up-for-review by the Supreme Court
> of the United States of America, at the same time the
> related events of Enron's role in designing this public
> policy (and, possibly, much more) with Ken Lay's role
> as an unprosecuted figurehead of three years now to
> be brought into relation to Andrew Fastow's plea deal
> for 98 counts of fraud, which may get to bigger fish in
> the Enron events yet dealt with-- that the story below,
> and VP Cheney's intimate role in all things energetic,
> to be meeting with a Supreme Court Justice (Scalia)
> while the .US Energy Task Force is up for review in-
> front of the .US Supreme Court to release papers,
> and that this 'hunting trip' which produced little fowl,
> was held on the lands of an 'oil-services company'
> friend, also potentially related to .US Energy Task
> Force conflicts of interest, is- to be generous- totally
> outlandish to give further benefit of the doubt of no
> improprieties to influence process in such maneuvers.
> The only thing that could be done, it would seem, is
> that Justice Scalia recuses himself from the review
> and decision of all .US Energy Task Force issues...
> Scalia trip with Cheney raises eyebrows
> Justice to hear case of energy task force
> By David G. Savage, Los Angeles Times, 1/18/2004
> WASHINGTON -- Vice President Dick Cheney and Supreme Court Justice
> Antonin Scalia spent part of last week duck hunting at a private camp
> in southern Louisiana, three weeks after the Supreme Court had agreed
> to take up the vice president's appeal in lawsuits over his handling of
> the administration's energy task force. While Scalia and Cheney are
> avid hunters and longtime friends, several legal ethics specialists
> questioned the timing of their trip, and said it raised doubts about
> Scalia's ability to judge the case impartially.
> Scalia said Friday: "I do not think my impartiality could reasonably
> be questioned."
> Federal law says: "Any justice or judge shall disqualify himself in any
> proceeding in which his impartiality might be questioned."
> For almost three years, Cheney has been fighting demands that he reveal
> whether he met with energy industry officials, including the chairman
> of Enron at the time, Kenneth L. Lay, when Cheney was formulating the
> president's energy policy.
> A lower court has ruled that Cheney must turn over documents detailing
> who met with his task force, but on Dec. 15, the Supreme Court
> announced it would hear an appeal. The justices are due to hear
> arguments in April "in re Richard B. Cheney."
> In a written response to an inquiry from the Los Angeles Times about
> the hunting trip, Scalia said: "Cheney was indeed among the party of
> about nine who hunted from the camp. Social contacts with high-level
> executive officials (including Cabinet officers) have never been
> thought improper for judges who may have before them cases in which
> those people are involved in their official capacity, as opposed to
> their personal capacity. For example, Supreme Court justices are
> regularly invited to dine at the White House, whether or not a suit
> seeking to compel or prevent certain presidential action is pending."
> Cheney does not face a personal penalty in the pending lawsuits. He
> could not be forced to pay damages, for example.
> But the suits are not routine disputes about the powers of Cheney's
> office. The plaintiffs, the Sierra Club and Judicial Watch, say Cheney
> and his staff violated an open-government measure known as the Federal
> Advisory Committee Act by meeting behind closed doors with outside
> lobbyists for the oil, gas, coal, and nuclear industries.
> A New York University law professor, Stephen Gillers, said Scalia
> should have skipped going hunting with Cheney this year.
> "A judge may have a friendship with a lawyer, and that's fine. But if
> the lawyer has a case before the judge, they don't socialize until it's
> over. That shows a proper respect for maintaining the public's
> confidence in the integrity of the process," said Gillers, who
> specializes in legal ethics. "I think Justice Scalia should have been
> cognizant of that and avoided contact with the vice president until
> this was over. And this is not like a dinner with 25 or 30 people. This
> is a hunting trip, where you are together for a few days."
> The pair arrived Jan. 5 and were guests of Wallace Carline, the owner
> of Diamond Services Corp. an oil services company in Amelia, La. The
> Associated Press in Morgan City, La., reported the trip on the day the
> vice president and his entourage departed.
> "They asked us not to bring cameras out there," said Sheriff David
> Naquin, who serves St. Mary Parish, 90 miles southwest of New Orleans,
> referring to the request for privacy. "The vice president and the
> justice were there for a relaxing trip."
> While the local police were told about Cheney's trip shortly before his
> arrival, they were told to keep it a secret, Naquin said.
> "The justice had been here several times before. I'm kind of sorry
> Cheney picked that week because it was a poor shooting week," Naquin
> said. "There weren't many ducks here, which is unusual for this time of
> the year."
> Scalia agreed with the sheriff's assessment.
> "The duck hunting was lousy. Our host said that in 35 years of duck
> hunting on this lease, he had never seen so few ducks," the justice
> said in his written response to the Times. "I did come back with a few
> ducks, which tasted swell."
> Northwestern University law professor Steven Lubet, who teaches
> judicial ethics, said that he was not convinced Scalia must withdraw
> from the Cheney case, but that the trip had raised a number of
> "It's not clear this requires disqualification, but there are not
> separate rules for longtime friends," he said. "This is not like a
> lawyer going on a fishing trip with a judge. A lawyer is one step
> removed. Cheney is the litigant in this case. The question is whether
> the justice's hunting partner did something wrong. And the whole
> purpose of these rules is to ensure the appearance of impartiality in
> regard to the litigants before the court."
> The code of conduct for federal judges sets guidelines for members of
> the judiciary, but it does not set clear-cut rules. "A judge should . .
> . act at all times in a manner that promotes public confidence in the
> integrity and impartiality of the judiciary," it says. "A judge should
> not allow family, social or other relationships to influence judicial
> conduct or judgments . . . or permit others to convey the impression
> that they are in a special position to influence the judge."
> In the lower courts, litigants may ask a judge to step aside. And if
> the request is refused, they may appeal to a higher court.
> © Copyright 2004 Globe Newspaper Company.
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