Example of an easy enough fact check

It was surprisingly hard to find another source for this story I dimly recalled of the brilliant, unprincipled Scalia’s decision that he and Clarence Thomas would not recuse themselves from deciding the 2000 presidential election on 5-4 partisan grounds.  It must have taken me ten minutes, and several searches to corroborate my recollection. The information below is pretty specific, and would not be hard to further verify, if anyone truly cared to.  It supports with detail what I remembered of that stunning one-off Supreme Court overreach, the one that ushered in our age of neo-fascism/anything for a win, a savage, steel-toed kick to the groin, though arguably against the rules, is no disgrace, nor disqualifying, if the ref is on your side.

Besides Thomas, Scalia also took part in the decision while a close relative had a substantial interest in the outcome. Scalia’s son Eugene is a partner in the Washington office of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher, where one of the senior partners is Theodore B. Olson, who argued Bush’s case before the Supreme Court.

Scalia refused to recuse himself from Bush v. Gore, although the lead lawyer for the plaintiff was, in effect, his son’s boss. He took the same position in the various legal proceedings that accompanied the impeachment of Bill Clinton, beginning with the Supreme Court’s decision to permit Paula Jones to proceed with her lawsuit against Clinton for sexual harassment, in which Olson provided legal assistance.

The personal conflicts-of-interest involving Thomas and Scalia were one-day wonders in the media, then quickly dropped after the two justices supplied Bush’s margin of victory in the 5-4 decision to halt the Florida recount. This kid-glove treatment is in marked contrast to the use of minor or even imaginary ethical infractions to witch-hunt cabinet-level officials during Clinton’s eight years in the White House.

Independent counsel investigations were carried out into the affairs of Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt, Labor Secretary Alexis Herman, Housing and Urban Development Secretary Henry Cisneros, and, of course, Bill and Hillary Clinton, on much flimsier evidence than is already apparent in relation to the Supreme Court justices.


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