"It did not involve a lawsuit against Dick Cheney as a private individual," Scalia said in response to a question from the audience of about 600 people. "This was a government issue. It's acceptable practice to socialize with executive branch officials when there are not personal claims against them. That's all I'm going to say for now. Quack, quack."This is Clintonian language of the first order. See, Cheney was sued, but sued in his person as Vice President, not as Citizen Cheney. Scalia wants you to feel that there is some distinction between the two, and that such a distinction removes the stench of corruption from a hunting trip paid for by the very participants in the energy meetings upon which the case seeks to shed light.
Michael Ramsey, a former Scalia law clerk, said the justice may be concerned about setting a precedent that would "lead to a flood of recusal requests that will likely have the effect of preventing the justices from having social interaction with other branches." "Once we start down that road, where do we stop?" asked Ramsey, who teaches law at the University of San Diego.Perhaps we'll stop at judicial impartiality. And what would be wrong with a flood of recusal requests? The public should be much, much more aware of the actions of the judiciary since they serve only on the basis of good behavior. How can we evalutate their behavior if no one ever asks the question? Justices are appointed to a life term to insulate them from, among other things, the changing political winds, but if they abuse that insulation (and behave as if they are above public scrutiny) they must be removed.
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