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Author Topic: Whether for or against Obamacare, this reeks of wrong.  (Read 699 times)

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Online OniyaTopic starter

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Whether for or against Obamacare, this reeks of wrong.
« on: November 15, 2011, 11:06:47 PM »
I realize that Obamacare is basically a thrown-together attempt at fixing The Problem - heck, my roommate's chiropractor ran down something that sounded a lot better (I'm thinking of supporting his write-in campaign for governor.)  There's just something that strikes me as intrinsically wrong when judges are treated to dinner by the lawyers that are going to be arguing in front of them.  In a criminal or civil court, the other side could ask for the judge to recuse him/herself, but what recourse is there with the SCOTUS?

http://www.latimes.com/news/politics/la-pn-scalia-thomas-20111114,0,7978224.story

Quote
The day the Supreme Court gathered behind closed doors to consider the politically divisive question of whether it would hear a challenge to President Obama’s healthcare law, two of its justices, Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas, were feted at a dinner sponsored by the law firm that will argue the case before the high court.

Offline elone

Re: Whether for or against Obamacare, this reeks of wrong.
« Reply #1 on: November 15, 2011, 11:39:43 PM »
Nothing surprises me anymore when it comes to ethics in government, or should I say the lack of ethics. As far as I remember, the Supreme Court was supposed to be somewhat non political, that is why they are given lifetime terms, so that they can not be swayed by partisanship or fear of being fired for unpopular decisions. Of course conservative justices as well as liberal ones attend all types of events. In the case of Scalia and Thomas, in their defense, the article states that they have attended this particular event for years. That being said, I think many people would see a problem with their actions, it definitely reeks of wrong to me.  Even if there is no influence peddling here, there is certainly the appearance that that may be happening. One would only hope that our justices are above that. These two will probably vote to dismember Obama's healthcare anyway so it probably makes no difference.  It will probably be a 5 to 4 decision, which way I am not sure. We should have just gone to a single payer system anyway and let everyone have health care that is decent and affordable.
« Last Edit: November 16, 2011, 01:15:20 AM by elone »

Offline Jude

Re: Whether for or against Obamacare, this reeks of wrong.
« Reply #2 on: November 16, 2011, 04:33:38 AM »
After the crap he's pulled with his wife, nothing Clarence Thomas does should surprise you.  It's a wonder that isn't being taken more seriously.

Offline Capone

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Re: Whether for or against Obamacare, this reeks of wrong.
« Reply #3 on: November 16, 2011, 06:51:42 AM »
I must confess to some bias towards Scalia, as he was one of the Justices that was awesome in the case about M-rated game sales being prohibited towards children.

Even so, it all depends on the context, and we can only wait to see how it plays out. Even if there is an influence, it may not come off as dramatic as in the movies. I'll have to wait and see how it goes.

Online TheGlyphstone

Re: Whether for or against Obamacare, this reeks of wrong.
« Reply #4 on: November 16, 2011, 11:11:30 AM »
Doesn't the article mention, anyways, that the law firm in question is one of two dozen firms that sponsor this event, and have for years? That doesn't really scream 'buying the judge off' to me - such big dinners are a staple of high society at that level, and I can't imagine there are more than two dozen law firms in the country with the prestige/weight to argue cases in front of the Supreme Court anyways.

Offline Jude

Re: Whether for or against Obamacare, this reeks of wrong.
« Reply #5 on: November 16, 2011, 02:37:07 PM »
Doesn't the article mention, anyways, that the law firm in question is one of two dozen firms that sponsor this event, and have for years? That doesn't really scream 'buying the judge off' to me - such big dinners are a staple of high society at that level, and I can't imagine there are more than two dozen law firms in the country with the prestige/weight to argue cases in front of the Supreme Court anyways.
That may mean that they're not being bought off but it doesn't excuse the judges from their responsibility to not engage in behavior which looks like a conflict interest or could result in discussion which is inappropriate given the upcoming hearing.  That information makes the lawyers look more sympathetic, sure, but not the justices in my opinion.

Online TheGlyphstone

Re: Whether for or against Obamacare, this reeks of wrong.
« Reply #6 on: November 16, 2011, 03:31:49 PM »
That may mean that they're not being bought off but it doesn't excuse the judges from their responsibility to not engage in behavior which looks like a conflict interest or could result in discussion which is inappropriate given the upcoming hearing.  That information makes the lawyers look more sympathetic, sure, but not the justices in my opinion.

I'd call it a 'damned if they do, damned if they don't' situation myself. If the judges go, it looks like they're engaging in a conflict of interest. If they don't, people wonder why they're not going this year when they've gone in previous years (presumably when at least one of the two dozen firms sponsoring the event would have a case in front of them at some point), inviting accusations that not attending indicates a bias (either for or against) said two firms in comparison to the other twenty-two.

Offline Malefique

Re: Whether for or against Obamacare, this reeks of wrong.
« Reply #7 on: November 19, 2011, 01:25:38 PM »
I'm a Brit and our own politics is riddled with this kind of thing.  Personally I'd put an end to all these high-power junketings altogether, they are wholly inappropriate when so many people are suffering the loss of their jobs and homes, or drastic cuts in income and services.  And there is always an element of bribery - why else would they be put on at all, if not to seek some form of influence?  I would ban all politicians and holders of office like judges, civil servants, etc, from attending any function funded even in part by commercial interests or lobbyists of any kind, and end all lobbying except by voters with their representatives in public meetings.  But that's just not going to happen, I'm afraid - nobody with the power to do it wants to give up the trough their snouts are in.

Offline RubySlippers

Re: Whether for or against Obamacare, this reeks of wrong.
« Reply #8 on: November 20, 2011, 11:10:33 AM »
There is something you all are forgetting these justices are lifetime appointments and have strict oversight by many sides, in other words what would the parties have to gain by inviting them they will vote as they feel is the right decision. They are not elected, can't easily be removed and likely will retire from the bench and not need a job there is little to bribe them with as far as I can tell unlike other parties.

Online OniyaTopic starter

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Re: Whether for or against Obamacare, this reeks of wrong.
« Reply #9 on: November 20, 2011, 11:57:38 AM »
The same 'strict oversight' managed to overlook Clarence Brown failing to report the source of his wife's substantial income for several years. 

Quote
Between 2003 and 2007, Virginia Thomas, a longtime conservative activist, earned $686,589 from the Heritage Foundation, according to a Common Cause review of the foundation's IRS records. Thomas failed to note the income in his Supreme Court financial disclosure forms for those years, instead checking a box labeled "none" where "spousal noninvestment income" would be disclosed.