January 30, 2004

They Say the Owl Was Once a Baker's Daughter

Michael Froomkin writes some polite, measured, and sensible things about the judge who goes on a hunting vacation with a litigant whose case is about to appear before him:

Discourse.net: Hunting Where the Ducks Are: Nice to see that a couple of US Senators know how to go hunting where the ducks are. Via my brother’s White House Briefing I lern that Leahy And Lieberman Query High Court On Ethics Of Scalia Vacation With Cheney. And well they should...

Chief Justice Won't Address Merits of Request for Scalia Recusal: AP reports that Chief Justice Rehnquist gave short shrift to the Leahy-Lieberman request for information about the Supreme Court’s “canons, procedures and rules” on whether justices should recuse themselves from cases in which “their impartiality might reasonably be questioned.” The Chief Justice’s letter is not at the Court’s web site, indeed the most recent press release is dated Oct. 2, 2003. According to AP, Rehnquist said any suggestion that Scalia should recuse himself “is ill considered.” [One reason I want to read the text is that this quote is hard to square with the suggestion later in the article that Rehnquist also took no position on the merits.]...

Discourse.net: Scalia Recusal Issue (cont): Much has been made of the Scalia line quoted in the Los Angeles Times that, “I do not think my impartiality could reasonably be questioned.” As I’ve already stated, I disagree. What’s more important, however, is just how this comment of Scalia’s was inappropriate and damaging. I’ll set out some reasons below....

Me? Given how outrageous it is for a judge to go on a vacation with a litigant and then claim that any questioning of his impartiality is "unreasonable," I am most amazed by the fact that Michael is polite, measured, and sensible. I guess this is an important and object lesson in the malleability of personality: how twenty-two years in the Life of the Law can change one.

Posted by DeLong at January 30, 2004 08:16 PM | TrackBack | | Other weblogs commenting on this post
Comments

Most people would say that if there has been a change the cause was marriage...

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Ah.

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There was a parody of the NYT's 'Ask the Ethicist', where somebody asks the question of whether this behavior is ethical. The writer adds the important qualification that he has already decided to rule in favor of this litigant, and so the hunting trip won't affect his ruling. The 'letter' was signed 'Fat Tony'.


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