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Dumbest judicial ethics story ever

ABC News "Nightline" is strongly in contention for that honor with its breathless Brian Ross investigative report revealing that Justice Scalia didn't attend the swearing in of Chief Justice Roberts because ... he had a previously scheduled calendar appointment to give a speech on the separation of powers. Not only that, but it was for the sinister Federalist Society! And at a Colorado resort where one could, and he did, play tennis! It's just shocking!

A general hail of dead cats has descended on ABC from commentators including, among others: Tom Goldstein, SCOTUSblog; Mike Cernovich, and again at more length; Orin Kerr; Sean Sirrine, Objective Justice; Ed Brayton; and Bill Nienhuis. Just for the sake of balance, here are a few blogs that appear to buy into ABC's analysis without question: Michael Froomkin, Shakespeare's Sister, David Sirota.

Don't just blame ABC, though. Blame lawprof Stephen Gillers, who was much relied on by Ross in his report, and who's enjoyed a status in much of the press for years -- a quite inexplicable status, as this episode shows -- as the go-to guy on legal ethics.



Rafael Mangual
Project Manager,
Legal Policy

Manhattan Institute


Published by the Manhattan Institute

The Manhattan Insitute's Center for Legal Policy.