News & Politics

Refuse to Recuse

Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia responds to calls for recusal with a 21-page memo that boils down to this: he doesn't want to, he doesn't have to, so he won't.
The Sierra Club filed suit against Dick Cheney in an attempt to wrench Energy Task Force files out of his rigor mortis-like grasp. It insinuates that the Vice President met with Enron officials a gazilliondy times, and with environmentalists not once (0 or 1, less than 1 times), making these hearings more suspicious than month-old sushi, and demanding further analysis.

Who better to instigate this investigation than a disinterested neutral party like the Sierra Club? Yeah, right, calling the Sierra Club unbiased vis a vis the Administration's Energy policy is like calling sulfuric acid impartial to control top panty hose. Nonetheless, the case was upheld by a Federal Court, and on appeal from the Justice Department, the DC Supremes agreed to review it.

Then -- and this is where the plot thickening music should be cued to Swell -- Justice Antonin Scalia hitched a ride on Air Force 2 to go duck hunting with a bunch of big-time fancy folks including Cheney, the very man whose fate he is to decide. This has the Sierra Club jumping up and down like beads of glycerin on a pancake griddle, shrieking foul, demanding Scalia recuse himself from judgment with regard to his Elmer Fudd-like buddy.

In a 21-page "nyah-nyah, nyah-nyah-nyah" memorandum responding to his critics, Justice Scalia refused to recuse, citing a laundry list of spurious precedents. But all the legal language mainly boils down to: He doesn't want to, he doesn't have to, so he won't -- and if we don't like it, we can all just go poop in our pockets.

One has to admire his spunk, but I must confess a certain alarm over one of his quotes: "If it is reasonable to think that a Supreme Court justice can be bought so cheap, the nation is in deeper trouble than I had imagined." Yes, we are all afraid the nation is in deeper trouble than he imagines, but even more distressing is exactly how deep does he imagine the trouble the nation is in? Knee deep? Hip deep? Or tilting our heads up to the sky trying to keep our lips above water deep?

Political comic Will Durst is keeping snorkel gear handy, just in case.