TCU Daily Skiff Thursday, April 1, 2004
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Impartiality of justice a concern
Scalia should recuse himself from energy case

In case you haven’t heard, Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia is doing his best to avoid pressure to recuse himself from hearing a case concerning Vice President Dick Cheney.

The case in question surrounds the Bush administration’s energy policy. Watchdog and Environmental groups, such as the Sierra Club, are convinced that top industry executives had a hand in shaping the policy and have filed a lawsuit to learn more about the closed door sessions.

Cheney has combated the lawsuit, arguing that “executive privilege” allows him to avoid disclosing such information. Executive privilege goes back to President Nixon’s day, and his attempt to avoid giving up court subpoenaed audio tapes concerning his discussions about the Watergate scandal. Obviously, the country and the court did not follow suit, and the idea of executive privilege, which is mentioned nowhere in the Constitution, did not save Nixon’s presidency.

Now, however, Vice President Cheney might be able to pull it off. Only three weeks after the lawsuit was filed Cheney and Justice Scalia went duck hunting in Louisiana as guests of Wallace Carline, the owner of Diamond Services, an oil service company.

While the details of their conversation are really nobody’s business, the heart of the issue is Scalia’s impartiality. Supreme Court justices are expected to police themselves if one of them is biased or “reasonably questioned.” Scalia’s refusal to do so is an affront to our judicial system.

If big oil companies are dictating our country’s energy policies the public has a right to know. Scalia should understand that and admit that his chummy relationship with the vice president compromises his disposition.
TCU Daily Skiff ©2004
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