The Dishonesty of the Attacks on the Supreme Court’s Conservative Justices

by Pejman Yousefzadeh on March 7, 2011

I suppose that there is a lot that I could write about the effort on the part of port side partisans to make the conservative Justices of the Supreme Court look shady and unethical. But I really don’t have to write anything. You see, other port-siders have done a perfectly good job pointing out just how disingenuous the smear campaign directed at the Court’s conservative Justices really is.

Read the article to get a sense of what the allegations are. Then read the following:

. . . even liberal legal experts have brushed off the complaints as hollow.

In an appearance with Weiner on CNN last month, the network’s liberal legal commentator Jeffrey Toobin flatly rejected the Democratic congressman’s call for Thomas to recuse himself from the health care case.

“I don’t think there is even a specter of a conflict of interest,” Toobin said.

And Michael Waldman, executive director of the left-leaning Brennan Center for Justice at New York University’s School of Law, called the allegations that Thomas and Scalia are biased by their affiliation with the Koch retreat “meritless. We see no basis for the accusations that the justices’ decisions are based on anything but the merits.” He warned that “people should think very hard before asking prosecutors to investigate judges just because they dislike the decisions they make.”

In dismissing as “farfetched” Common Cause’s request that the Justice Department investigate whether the justices’ Koch conference appearances warranted recusal, The Washington Post’s editorial board noted that liberal justices also have affiliated with groups that had interests before the court.

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, for instance, appeared at a 2004 lecture series co-sponsored by the NOW Legal Defense and Education Fund two weeks after taking the liberal group’s side in a medical screening case before the court.

And, though the justice’s late husband, Martin Ginsburg, was for years a partner in a high-powered corporate law firm, Feldman asserted in his Times op-ed, “Surely no one believes that his career made his wife … more positively inclined toward corporate interests.”

Likewise, Feldman was amused by a December Times editorial urging Scalia to reject the Tea Party Caucus’s invitation lest he “give the impression that he was joining the throng — confirming his new moniker as the ‘Justice from the tea party’.”

In an interview with POLITICO, Feldman said, “Justice Scalia had his views a long time before there was a tea party. Maybe the tea party is following Justice Scalia, but he’s definitely not following the tea party.”

As far as scandals go, this is weak tea. Is it too much to ask that we stop affording any credibility to those trying to make this non-story into a live controversy?

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