Are Supreme Court Justices Above Ethical Concerns?
I wish that I was Nina Totenberg right now. Her coverage of public affairs and of the proceedings of the Supreme Court has won her international acclaim as a reporter. She writes for NPR. I look forward to her comments on this recent development regarding the invitation of Court Justices Scalia and Thomas to attend a conference run by a private foundation lobbying group.
I wish I was the fly on the wall in the room where the Koch Group met and discussed the mission of the group, a "twice a year" gathering "to review strategies for combating the multitude of public policies that threaten to destroy America as we know it."
This was reported Tuesday night in the New York Times and was further discussed in the Huffington Post. Although it is not clearly an ethical issue for a Justice to attend political meetings, it does begin to blur the line when a stated agenda is clearly spoken as follows: This quotation is lifted directly from the invitation, "At our most recent meeting in Aspen, our group heard plans to activate citizens against the threat of government overspending and to change the balance of power in Congress this November." Now that sounds to me like a very clear "political" agenda.
In a separate article written by Kate Zernike and published in the New York Times on October 19, 2010, the group is reported as a group of "secretive Republican donors." At this point, one has to start asking questions about the appropriate ethical guidelines for a Supreme Court Justice. The group is made up of ultra-wealthy and politically well-connected people.
The efforts of this group are clear and stated boldly as "countering climate change through alarm-ism, and the move to socialize health care, as well as the regulatory assault on energy and making donations to higher education and philanthropic organizations to advance the Koch agenda."Continued on the next page