Supreme Court Junket King Scalia Dies While Vacationing with Wealthy Patrons at Private West Texas Getaway
By Dave Lindorff
It’s appropriate that Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia died at a luxury resort while freeloading as the guest of thus far unidentified wealthy sponsors as one of 40 guests at a private quail-hunting vacation party.
The resort where he died, Cibolo Ranch Resort, located on land stolen by its founder from Indians in the Big Bend region of west Texas, is a posh retreat favored by the ultra rich, offering rooms priced from $350 to $700 a night, and it’s a safe bet that the bed Scalia died in was located in a top-priced room -- and that the credit card that was swiped to pay for it didn’t have his name on it.
The acerbic, blunt-speaking Scalia made his name as a High Court judge accepting freebies from wealthy businesspeople and right-wing outfits like the Federalist Society, even taking free trips and vacation junkets from the likes of the aptly-titled “Vice” President Dick Cheney back in 2004 when Cheney had a case pending before the court involving an effort to force the VP to disclose what oil company executives had attended a closed meeting in his office on energy policy early in the first term of the Bush-Cheney administration. (Scalia, notably, did not recuse himself from hearing that case.)
We don’t at this point know who was the sponsor of Scalia’s final junket, but it’s safe to say he wasn’t there on his own dime. It wasn’t the way Scalia operated. Indeed, so egregious and frequent were Scalia’s junkets that in October 2015 the New York Times wrote an editorial condemning them and calling for a reform to make such legalized bribery illegal.
Supreme Court justices, unlike members of Congress, don’t need to report such things as who takes them on luxury hunting trips. They are simply required under a vague judicial ethics standard to recuse themselves when they themselves feel they have a conflict of interest. Scalia made it abundantly clear, during his record 30-year tenure on the Supreme Court bench, that he did not feel getting freebies from the wealthy, affect his his judicial judgement even when his benefactor had a case pending before him.
Now that Scalia is gone, it will be interesting to see what Justice Clarence Thomas will do. Thomas, who emulated his mentor Scalia both in his voting on almost all cases brought to the High Court during his 25 years on the bench, also emulated him in taking every advantage of free vacations funded by wealthy right-wing businesspeople, like the Koch brothers and others. How will Thomas vote now on cases, without Scalia to guide him? Will he glom on to another surviving right-wing jurist -- perhaps Samuel Alito?...
For the rest of this article by DAVE LINDORFF in ThisCantBeHappening!, the independent, uncompromised, five-time Project Censored Award-winning online alternative news site, please go to: www.thiscantbehappening.net/node/3043