Tuesday, November 17, 2009
Conflict of interest for judges
Further to the posting dated 4th Nov. on "Supreme Court: Conflict of interest - a farcical alibi?", the observations made by Justice Antonin Scalia of the US Supreme Court in a case where he refused to recuse himself simply because one of the official parties to the dispute was Dick Cheney, the then Vice President with whom the judge had gone on duck hunting, are interesting. He said, "Since I do not believe my impartiality can reasonably be questioned, I do not think it would be proper for me to recuse ... The people must have confidence in the integrity of the judge and that cannot exist in a system that assumes them to be corrupt by the slightest friendship or interest in an atmosphere which the press will be eager to find foot-faults. 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." Very wise words indeed.