Ethical Quote Of The Month: Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia

Antonin_Scalia_2010

“I have no illusions that your man will nominate someone who shares my orientation, but I hope he sends us someone smart. Let me put a finer point on it. I hope he sends us Elena Kagan.”

—The recently departed Antonin Scalia, speaking to Obama advisor David Axelrod seven years ago, as President Obama was faced with making his first Supreme Court nomination upon the retirement  of Justice Souter.

Kagan, of course, was finally chosen to fill the second SCOTUS vacancy. Axelrod treats this conversation as somehow shocking, which I guess it would be to a political operative like him, to whom partisan warfare is everything,. Yet Scalia, who was known to be good friends with several of the more liberal members of the court, including Kagan, displayed with that private statement to Axelrod the professional attitude I have heard from many lawyers, and that perfectly describes my own. What is important to have on the Supreme Court are the best and most competent legal minds available. Assuming such judges also possess integrity, the third branch of the government will be in good hands. Continue reading

Schemes, Slander and Deception: The Most Unethical Maneuvers of Campaign 2010

Well, I have to admit they were creative. And despicable.

2010’s most unethical maneuvers ran the gamut from lying to zombie exploitation, from false identity to extortion. Unfortunately, most of the worst stunts were pulled by or on behalf of Democrats; I say unfortunately because I try awfully hard to keep these kinds of lists in partisan balance. But the Democrats and their progressive fans were especially slimy this time around, and it it figures. When the going gets tough, the tough get unethical, and it is the Democrats who are facing ballot box carnage. They have been pushing the envelope, to say the least, in their campaign tactics, and I think it probably made their situation more dire rather than less.

Here, in reverse order of ethical outrageousness, are the Ten Most Unethical Maneuvers of Campaign 2010: Continue reading

The Kagan Hearings: The Right Thing For Republicans To Do

There is not one chance in a thousand that they will do it, of course. But Senate Republicans can do much good for the country, the political culture, and, in the long term, themselves, if they would undertake a courageous, principled and ethical act: confirming Elena Kagan to the Supreme Court, after establishing her qualifications to serve, by an overwhelming if not unanimous vote. Continue reading

Photo Ethics: Kagan at the Bat

The Wall Street Journal is being assailed by some gay and lesbian advocates for running an old photo of Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan, bat raised, waiting for a pitch in a softball game. “It clearly is an allusion to her being gay. It’s just too easy a punch line,” said Cathy Renna, a former spokesperson for the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation who is now a consultant. “The question from a journalistic perspective is whether it’s a descriptive representation of who she might be as a judge.”

What???? Continue reading

Being Fair to Elena Kagan

The long knives are already out for Solicitor General Elena Kagan, now the latest Supreme Court nominee. Once, before the late Ted Kennedy shamelessly accused Robert Bork of being a racist, a sexist and a monster to boot, U.S. Presidents were accorded the respect by both parties in the Senate have confirmed whoever they chose for the High Court, unless the choice was so cynical or politically tainted as to demand defeat. No more. Now each nominee has to thoroughly debase herself or himself by denying the political philosophies that produced his or her nomination in the first place. The first casualty of the nomination process is integrity.

Is it too late to go back? Is it too late to be fair? Continue reading