Menu Bar

Democratic Voices

April 3, 2004

Scalia Must Go- NOW!

Supreme Court Justice Scalia has announced that he will not recuse himself from a court case against Vice President Dick Cheney. The case is an open government court case where the goal is to force Cheney to release information about meeting held with oil industry executives and his Energy Task Force in the first year of the Bush Administration. Critics believe that the Bush White House let the oil industry executive who helped fund the Bush political machine design their energy policies for the private financial benefit of Big Oil.

The massive increases in our current gas prices, previous spikes in home heating oil or natural gas and our foreign policy dealings with oil producing nations are all huge issues of public interest that may directly relate to these meetings. This energy company collusion concern is a major component in the electric price-gouging controversy called the California Energy Crisis that crippled the California economy under Bush. It is the belief of these writers that a “smoking gun” that hurts Bush directly may be hidden in the records of these meetings. It is possible that illegal activity may be hidden from the voting public. The public has a right to know about all the actions of our employees in the federal government including Bush and Cheney concerning these issues.

Scalia and Cheney recently went for several days of a duck-hunting vacation together while this case was headed to the Supreme Court. Scalia was joined by his son and son-in-law during this trip. Concerning the content of their conversations during this trip, no public record has been made available. The trip certainly appears to be improper. Scalia should not have spent several days in a situation where collusion would be possible or appears to be possible with a likely defendant in a court case. The appearance of a conflict of interest is glaring.

Traditionally, the standard for federal judges in recusing themselves from a case is the appearance of impropriety or conflict of interest. Scalia’s refusal to follow the traditional standard seems to based on the argument that he is Scalia. His idea seems to be that just being a member of the Supreme Court places his reputation so high that he is above the traditional standard. We doubt if this view is held by the American public.

The issues at stake in the Cheney Energy Task Force case are so important that the highest ethical standards should apply. Scalia is undermining the ethical standard of our federal courts when he should be protecting or raising them. Every action of the Supreme Court sets precedent in federal law. Weakening judicial conflict of interest standards in federal courts is a really bad idea even if Cheney and Scalia personally benefit.

Scalia has already created huge doubts in his judicial ethics by not recusing himself from the Bush vs. Gore ruling that handed Bush and Cheney their current jobs during the 2000 Presidential Elections. Scalia’s son was an attorney for the Bush political campaign during this case. Along with Clarence Thomas whose wife was operating a website from their home to recruit Republicans for jobs in a possible new Bush Administration during the case, Scalia had a very strong appearance of a personal and political conflict of interest that made it unlikely that the Gore campaign would get a fair hearing. Most legal scholars have found the Bush vs. Gore ruling to be a very bad ruling that distorted the law wildly in order to give the Republicans a victory. The ruling blocked the statewide recount ordered by the Florida Supreme Court.

The Cheney case will decide if our federal government can cut secret deals with powerful private business interests and keep the deal secret forever from the voters. The issues are much larger than even a Presidential election. The issues involved go to the core of open government and democracy. They are certainly much larger than the reputation of Scalia or any other Justice.

If Scalia thinks his reputation is more important than the reputation of our legal system, he should resign. He should be forced to recuse himself by his fellow Justices. Failing such a recusal, Scalia should be impeached and removed from the federal bench for his pattern of behavior concerning the conflict of interest issue. Scalia is undermining the respect for the law that makes the American legal system work.

Column written by Stephen Crockett and Al Lawrence (hosts of Democratic Talk Radio which is nationally syndicated on the ieAmerica Radio Network). You can hear them via the Internet several days a week from 2-4pm Central at You are invited to visit the Democratic Talk Radio site at They can be reached by mail at: 7A Planville Drive, Fayetteville, TN 37334. Reach DTR by phone at 931-438-1500 or 443-421-0287.

Stephen Crockett
Al Lawrence
Co-hosts: “Current Affair” News Talk Program
WEKR 1240 am radio
(931) 433-3545

Content copyright ©2004, 7A Planville Drive, Fayetteville, TN 37334. All rights reserved.
Use of this site constitutes your acceptance of our Terms and Conditions.