Sunday, February 08, 2004

Vice President takes supreme court justice on vacation

Title: High Court Justice A Cheney Guest
Source: CBS
Date: February 5, 2004

From the article:
    Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia was Vice President Dick Cheney's official guest aboard a jet that served as Air Force II for a trip to Louisiana, the Los Angeles Times reports.

    The two men, who are longtime friends, went duck hunting last month at a camp owned by an oil industry executive. The trip was made three weeks after the high court agreed to take up the vice president's appeal in lawsuits over his handling of the administration's energy task force.

    Several experts in legal ethics questioned the timing of the trip and said it raised doubts about Scalia's ability to judge the Cheney case impartially....

    "If the vice president is the source of generosity, it means Scalia is accepting a gift of some value from a litigant in a case before him," New York University law professor Stephen Gillers told the Times. "It is not just a trip with a litigant. It's a trip at the expense of the litigant. This is an easy case for stepping aside."

    Scalia had previously indicated that there was no need for him to step aside in the case. "I do not think my impartiality could reasonably be questioned," he said...

    Cheney aides said the vice president was entitled to travel to vacation locations at government expense and take along guests, the newspaper said.
In this case, a wealthy oil industry executive invites the vice president of the United States to his private hunting preserve. The Vice President accepts, and invites along a supreme court justice who will be hearing a case against the vice president. The reason the vice president is being sued is because of his relationship with energy companies, exemplified by the oil industry executive who extended the invitation.

Neither vice president Cheney nor supreme court justice Scalia see anything wrong in what they are doing because this is business as usual. This is how the concentration of wealth works. Wealthy individuals are able to gain direct access to government officials in a wide variety of ways.


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