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There's Ample Reason to Doubt Scalia's Objectivity

March 22, 2004

Re "Scalia Sees No Reason to Sit Out Cheney Case," March 19: Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia says that the "constant practice of justices' enjoying friendship and social intercourse with members of Congress and officers of the executive branch has not been abandoned, and ought not to be," in defending his decision to not withdraw from a case before him involving Vice President Dick Cheney's energy policy task force. He adds that their trip together would not cause a reasonable person to question his impartiality.

Whether justices and members of Congress and the executive branch should enjoy friendships with one another is not at question; indeed, they should. Scalia is a Supreme Court justice privately meeting with the defendant in the case before him -- a vice president, we should recall, who gained his position through a questionable decision by a sharply divided Supreme Court.

I'm a reasonable person. Scalia's actions cause me to question his impartiality. Recuse yourself, Justice Scalia, or your colleagues should do it for you.

Zach Hochstadt

Los Angeles

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The justice who led the intervention of the Supreme Court to overturn a state court decision and to select the current president says "political consequences are not my concern." Whom does he think he is kidding?

Joel Pelcyger

Los Angeles

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Erwin Chemerinsky and Steven Lubet warn the Supreme Court justices that if they don't behave, "Congress should step in" (Commentary, March 19). These two law professors should know that Congress holds no sway over the Supreme Court (see Marbury vs. Madison, 1803). My guess is that they do know that, which suggests they're simply blowing smoke.

George W. Carlyle

Newport Beach

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Oddly enough, I agree with Scalia's opinion about his "impartiality" in reviewing Cheney's energy task force. The moment the news broke that the case would be going to the Supreme Court, anyone paying any attention to the justice knew how he would rule -- duck hunt or not.

David C. Zweig

Los Angeles

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Though I can't excuse Scalia for his poor judgment, I'm wondering why none of the criticism seems to be directed toward Cheney and his motives for inviting Scalia on the hunting trip in the first place.

Susan Sokoloff

Beverly Hills

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