Thursday, June 28, 2007

Scalia Spanks the Chief Justice

In his years on the Supreme Court, Antonin Scalia has been chafing at the bit to have his views prevail.

Now that Bush has put him into a tenuous conservative majority, Scalia is apparently impatient, as indicated by his public scolding of the new Chief Justice John Roberts, 19 years his junior, for not moving far or fast enough in their mutually chosen direction.

In today’s New York Times, Linda Greenhouse reports that Scalia in two opinions this week characterized the Chief Justice as “a wimp and a hypocrite” for “judicial obfuscation” and “meaningless and disingenuous distinctions.”

Scalia and Roberts are not likely to be palling around together on hunting trips like the one with Dick Cheney that led to Scalia’s controversial refusal three years ago to recuse himself from a case involving the Vice President’s right to keep secret the membership of an advisory task force on energy policy.

Explaining the innocence of the trip, Scalia pointed out that he had merely asked Cheney to join a friend of his and that they had flown down to Louisiana together on a Government jet, duck-hunted and fished in what “was not an intimate setting” and never even shared a blind.

Just as well. Given Cheney’s later shooting of a hunting companion in the face, proximity might have made the question of recusal moot but created another opening for a Bush appointee to the Court.

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