Thursday, January 27, 2011

Just Politics

Justices at 2010 SOTU
Supreme Court Justices Alito, Thomas and Scalia broke with tradition and declined to attend President Obama's State of the Union address.  Well, I could see how they would not want to be present for what Alito has referred to as a "very political event."  Oh, wait.

As I wrote in an earlier post, Activist Judges, Justice Alito attended a major fundraising event for the notorious right wing magazine American Spectator.  ThinkProgress reported that Alito was also the headliner at American Spectator's annual gala in 2008, and has been involved in other fundraising events for conservative groups.  "Justice Scalia and Justice Thomas have also attended secret political fundraisers."

ThinkProgress has provided more information on right wing political functions attended by Alito, Scalia and Thomas.  In particular, both Thomas and Alito were the keynote speakers for The Manhattan Institute's Wriston Lecture, Thomas in 2008 and Alito last October.  The Manhattan Institute, funded by major corporations, is a conservative think tank that produces "right-wing policy papers as well as sponsoring speeches for judges and Republican politicians." 

The justices' participation in activities supporting these conservative groups not only raises ethical concerns but calls into serious question their impartiality.  Indeed, a study by the Constitutional Accountability Center recently concluded that the current conservative majority is significantly more likely to favor corporate interests than the most pro-corporate member of the Court twenty-five years ago.  Another study by scholars at Northwestern and the University of Chicago concluded "that the a percentage of business cases on the Supreme Court docket has grown in the Roberts years, as has the percentage of cases won by business interests."

It sure doesn't look right to have three conservative justices of the Supreme Court skip out on a Democratic president's State of the Union address while participating in right wing fundraising events.  Unfortunately, this is one instance where appearances are not deceiving.

[Related posts:  Corporate Takeover Update; Corporate Takeover; Activists Judges]


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