Did Scalia do anything wrong by meeting privately with this group?

The Raw Story is reporting that Justice Scalia met privately with congressional Tea Party members, and a former (Reagan) DoJ official feels it was improper, possibly deserving of impeachment.

Did Scalia do anything wrong here? Why or why not? And should he face some sort of censure or recrimination? In what form?

Isn’t discussing the constitution pretty much what SCOTUS justices do?

I sense a trend building here. This is the second thread (and third overall) asking about the possibility of impeachment of a “conservative” justice for some sort of alleged misconduct. I haven’t been keeping up on all things political like I should be, so I’m wondering if I missed some sort of talking point or something.

Seriously, what’s the genesis of this?

My guess is an Obamanite* freakout over the building prospect of Obamacare being overturned. Even though such an impeachment is impossible, Obamanites want to plant whatever seeds of doubt they can over the role of the Supreme Court, if only for the sake of self-consolation. Same bitter genesis as birthers on one side and “Bush Stole The Election” on the other. It’s part of the juvenalization of our political discourse.

*I was going to say “liberal,” but that’s not fair. There are liberals I respect, but adherents of the big O’s dwindling cult of personality, not so much.

No. There is no precedent for this kind of condemnation; similar meetings have been attended by justices for many years, with no hint that there was any impropriety associated with it.

Thomas really should recuse himself if the Health Care law goes to SCOTUS, though. He’s openly banging a lobbyist for one of the sides. That’s not ok.

I think intelligent people also understand that Scalia is thoroughly partisan, but that’s not per se impeachable.

And if anyone needs the Constitution explained to them, it is the Tea Partiers. Unfortunately, I don’t think Scalia is the person for the job.


One thread is mine and it explicitly deals with a SCOTUS justice breaking federal law.

Unless you want to suggest Thomas’ opponents have known about this for years and were just waiting till now…for some reason…to let it all out then there is no conspiracy. Just happened now is all.

Scalia happened to have gone to this meeting around the same time (roughly) as the Thomas story broke. As such it is in the news and people often post here about that.

In short, they are topical subjects. If there is a conspiracy here you’ll need more than coincidence.

Does anyone know what was discussed? I know what they billed it as but whatever. The day Bachmann willingly signs up to be schooled on the constitution ala Con Law 101 I’ll eat my hat. If it really was just a Con Law 101 sorta thing then that is a photo OP and something I think all participants would love to have broadcast. Love him or hate him Scalia as professor on the law would be interesting.

I agree SCOTUS justices talk to all sorts of groups and have forever.

Are the talks generally secretive?

Aren’t justices supposed to avoid even the hint of impropriety?

Smells a bit to me but just not enough one way or another for me, personally, to decide if this is worth getting my panties in a bunch.

I would imagine that all conferences, conventions, and talks to which YOU aren’t invited are secret – if you’re of the mind to read it that way.

The article linked in the OP simply says that it was closed-door. I can think of very few events which aren’t closed-door, in life.

The claim in the actual letter to the editor:

Which was a response to this editorial:

So, no, it does not seem to be about healthcare reform but about the Common Cause petition regarding the Citizens United case.

And I’d appreciate having my ignorance reduced. Is it proper for a US Supreme Court Justice to be potentially advising partisan Congressmen and women on how they’d likely interpret potentially controversial matters of Constitutional Law and thereby influencing the legislative process? The editorial and the letter to the editor claim that this closed door brainstorming with partisan lawmakers and hobbnobbing with lobbyists for those whose cases come before the court have no recent precedence. Are they lying? If they are not then is it okay that such is done? Would it be okay for Obama to have a private consultation with the more moderate justices to sound out how they’d rule in response to precise wordings in advance of his making a policy proposal?

Please clarify where the line is for those of us who honestly do not know.

True that and fine.

Thing is if no one is allowed to report on it or talk about it.

A SCOTUS justice giving a talk is something people will report on. If a SCOTUS justice speaks, with other high profile people in attendance, all of whom love photo OPs and getting press time (except perhaps the justice) then damn tootin they are going to take the opportunity. They’re politicians. It remains an invite only thing but it is not so secretive.

So when Michelle Bachmann, someone who has hinted at a run for President in 2012, meets with a Supreme Court justice and other people but the whole thing is hush-hush beyond it happening?

To me this is where things start to smell a little. There may be nothing there but it doesn’t really add up. As noted in the article another justice was impeached for advising a president. Is advising a wanna-be president ok?

Why not just say “married?” Throughout his Supreme Court career, the liberal side’s focus and vitriol over a black man’s sexual habits has been . . . odd, to say the least.

Afterall, he’s married to her; there may not be whole lot of that going on!

Sexual habits have little to do with this.

It is about conflicts of interest.

If (made up example) Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s husband owned abortion clinics and was making some serious money doing it that it’d be fine for Ginsburg to adjudicate an abortion case?

Remember, Ginsburg benefits from her husband’s income even if she is not the one directly making the money.

What crime has been committed here? Scalia is a expert on constitutional issues and he has met with many groups to discuss the law. Why shouldn’t he meet with Congressmen?

The principle is supposed to be impartiality not isolation.

Do SCOTUS justices regularly (or at least not uncommonly) do what Scalia has done here?

I do not know. It was suggested earlier that they do. If so that should be easy to point out.

Be sure it is an apples-to-apples comparison. Doubtless there are many occasions where SCOTUS justices talk to congresscritters…at a party for instance. That would not be the same as this.

All judges have personal lives and these personal lives usually involve them meeting with political leaders, this is true from the lowest levels of the state and municipal courts up through the SCOTUS. The one difference of course is that at higher levels the politicians they are hob nobbing with are significantly more famous. Additionally, the SCOTUS is not bound by any formal rules of recusal as are many lower court judges throughout the country in various jurisdictions. The SCOTUS is also the only clearly defined court created by the United States Constitution, so it isn’t exactly surprising they are not going to be as bound in their actions as lower court judges. They are essentially the focal point of power for an entire, legitimate, branch of our Federal government.

Who do you think is stopping them? Are you proposing that Scalia has told them they will be assassinated if they talk to the press about what went on in the meeting? That he has some sort of mind control ray? that he has placed a legally binding gag order on all the press in the US concerning this meeting?

I honestly have no idea what you are insinuating here. How do you think anybody present at that meeting could prevent any of the other participants people from talking about it or prevent the press form reporting on it if they did talk?

If it isn’t then the only people the SCOTUS Justices could talk to would be foreign immigrants and ex-presidents. Is that seriously what you are suggesting? Because everybody else in the entire country is a wannabe president. I wannabe president. You wannabe president. It’s great job. We all want it. Should none of use be able to talk to the SCOTUS Justices?

If you exclude everybody who wants to be president from talking to SCOTUS justices, aren’t they going to get a bit lonely? They won’t even be able to talk to their own families.

Or perhaps you have some clever way of deciding who “really” wants to be president? Or perhaps you will just exclude all the Justices from talking to all politicians, after all it;s a safe bet that every single politician in the country wants to be president, right?

What planet do you live on?

Sure someone in the meeting could run outside and jabber to the press about whatever they wanted.

Is there press allowed inside? Any press? At all?

Do you think anyone at this shindig is going to run to the press to spill the beans regardless of what was being discussed?

If press is allowed inside are they restricted? Sarah Palin’s speaking engagements demand that “local media can cover the speech but may only record the first three minutes of Palin’s speech without audio for B-roll footage.”

Your naivete is cute.

This is just too absurd to merit a response.