Wow..Talk About Your Double Standards!

The Supreme Court recently announced it will hear pending same-sex marriage cases, prompting the increasingly unhinged American Family Association to issue a press release titled “Kagan and Ginsburg: Recuse Yourselves!”

Both of these justices’ personal and private actions that actively endorse gay marriage clearly indicate how they would vote on same-sex marriage cases before the Supreme Court,” said AFA President Tim Wildmon. “Congress has directed that federal judicial officers must disqualify themselves from hearing cases in specified circumstances. Both Kagan and Ginsburg have not only been partial to same-sex marriage but they have also proven themselves to be activists in favor of it. In order to ensure the Court’s integrity and impartiality, both should recuse themselves from same-sex marriage cases. Congress has an obligation to Americans to see that members of the Supreme Court are held to the highest standards of integrity. The law demands it, and the people deserve it.

Because Scalia and Thomas haven’t given us any hints about their approach to the subject..cough, cough. (One of Scalia’s sons directs an Ex-gay “reparative therapy” group, and has declared that homosexuality doesn’t really exist.)

A few observations: first, judges (including Scalia) are entitled to have personal opinions. What we have a right to expect is that they will render decisions based upon precedent and sound constitutional analysis, rather than twisting their legal analyses to fit their policy preferences. (Hint: Ginsburg and Kagan are not the Justices most often accused of that behavior.)

Second–where were these defenders of “high standards of integrity” when their fellow-travelers Scalia and Thomas had frequent, obvious and quite real conflicts of interest?

Both Scalia and Thomas accepted speaking engagements (including cushy travel and accommodations) before ideological groups funded by the Koch brothers, although there were cases pending before the Court in which the Kochs were deeply interested.

Scalia went hunting with then Vice-President Cheney at the same time that Cheney was party to a case before the Court (another one of his sons technically worked for Cheney at the same time, as top lawyer in the Bush Administration’s Labor Department); Thomas has refused to recuse himself in cases where the outcome was very important to the (ideological) organization employing his wife. If a lower court judge refused to recuse under such circumstances, that judge would be sanctioned under the rules cited by the AFA.

I have news for the AFA: being a nice human being while serving on the Supreme Court (the conduct of which Kagan and Ginsberg are guilty) is not how we define a conflict of interest. Even being an narcissistic asshole (Scalia) or a petulant advocate of long-discarded constitutional theories  (Thomas) while serving on the Court is not a conflict.

Refusing to recuse yourself from cases in which you or your spouse have a direct financial interest, or from cases to which your hunting buddy is a party, is.


  1. The White Wing is known for being proud of not being scientists. They believe that he who knows least governs best. A mind free of the clutter of knowledge will intuit the best laws from a clear channel to God who knows all and apparently, in the perfect world, would keep it all a secret from man.

    One of the things that they are proud of not knowing is how contagion works. One example is Ebola which they were sure was spread by Democrats. Another is sexual preference.

    The phrase “be activists in favor of it” is the clue. Apparently they believe that hetero/homo is up for a vote and the one one elected will be the law of the land.

    I don’t know about others but as for me my preference snuck up on me and with blinding speed captured all of the parts playing an active role in the pursuit of that happiness. I suspect the same to be true of others.

    I’m begining to think that ignorance may not be all that they crack it up to be. I understand the freedom of not being burdened by knowledge, how that opens up so many more possibilities for truth, but if one is to act, acting consistantly with truth is the most reliable choice.

    I am not a politician. But making good choices in the politics that I have observed lead to progress seems much more than a fashion statement to me. I believe that informed choices should be the rule in a democracy. Unfortunately that requires effort. So be it.

    If I was a blank slate as the Great Oligarchy Plot seems be be selling I might not have noticed that while our President was creating for us a vision of a better America at the state of the union John Boehner was playing mental golf.

    I personally can’t imagine why we elect golfers instead of scientists to lead the country but people who believe that homosexuality is contagious must prefer it.

  2. Why don’t legislators outlaw the eating of people by lions? Simply because there is no fear of being eaten by a lion in N. America.

    Could that be the hidden reasons behind such lawmaking? There but for the grace of dog go I.

  3. My dog ain’t in that fight; the “Kagen & Ginsburg – Recuse Yourselves” fight. Will gladly sic him on Scalia & Thomas knowing their approach without them formally stating it…or just on general principals.

  4. “Why don’t legislators outlaw the eating of people by lions? Simply because there is no fear of being eaten by a lion in N. America. ”

    No, they don’t pass the law because lions couldn’t read the law they’d pass and wouldn’t know to refrain from eating humans.

  5. Simply amazed by the ignorance of some people. They want to make up the rules as they play the game and then change those rules if the game may not go their way.

    Question for Sheila: Is there no provision in our judicial system that requires Supreme Court Justices to recuse themselves when they have a proven conflict of interest? Or to be forcefully removed from the case if they refuse to recuse themselves?

  6. I remember a time when an elected or appointed official would have actually been embarassed by the disclosure of a potential conflict of interest, especially after the fact. Now they’re not ashamed of anything they do or say because they haven’t been held accountable for so long thanks to our gerrymandered, exclusionary, mind-numbing election process. And dark money.

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