What Did We Learn from Antonin Scalia's Death?

Jim Hightower

Jim Hightower Author, Commentator, America’s Number One Populist

How curious that Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia died in, of all places, an exclusive, West Texas hunting lodge.

Curioser yet, all expenses for hizzonor's February stay were paid by the lodge's owner, John Poindexter. He's a Houston manufacturing mogul who had won a favorable ruling from the Court in an age-discrimination case last year. In another curiosity, the names of some 35 other people who were in Scalia's hunting party are being kept secret. Moreover, the late judge (an ardent promoter of corporate supremacy over people's rights) was flown to the Texas getaway for free aboard someone's or some corporations' private jet, but the name of this generous benefactor has also been withheld. Curious, huh?

This is not a murder mystery – by all accounts, Scalia died of natural causes. Rather it's a moral mystery. Who was buying (or repaying) favors from such an enormously-powerful member of America's highest court? There's a bit of poetic justice in the fact that Justice Scalia, in particular, passed away under such circumstances, for his expiration exposes a little known ethical loophole through which moneyed interests can curry special favors from Supremes: Judicial junkets.

The West Texas hunting excursion was hardly Scalia's first freebie. He has been the most frequent Supreme Court traveler on "Conflict-of-Interest Airlines," accepting more than 280 privately-paid-for jaunts in the past dozen years to luxury destinations, including Hawaii, Hong Kong, Ireland, Napa Valley, Palm Springs, and Switzerland.

Every lower-court judge is subject to a formal code of conduct – but the nine top court judges have exempted themselves from it. Scalia's inconvenient demise in the desert shows why we can't trust them to self-police their integrity. For more information, go to www.FixTheCourt.com .

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This has been reposted from Jim Hightower's website.

National radio commentator, writer, public speaker, and author of the book, Swim Against The Current: Even A Dead Fish Can Go With The Flow, Jim Hightower has spent three decades battling the Powers That Be on behalf of the Powers That Ought To Be – consumers, working families, environmentalists, small businesses, and just-plain-folks. Twice elected Texas Agriculture Commissioner, Hightower believes that the true political spectrum is not right to left but top to bottom, and he has become a leading national voice for the 80 percent of the public who no longer find themselves within shouting distance of the Washington and Wall Street powers at the top. He publishes a populist political newsletter, “The Hightower Lowdown.” He is a New York Times best-selling author, and has written seven books including, Thieves In High Places: They’ve Stolen Our Country And It’s Time To Take It Back; If the Gods Had Meant Us To Vote They Would Have Given Us Candidates; and There’s Nothing In the Middle Of the Road But Yellow Stripes and Dead Armadillos. His newspaper column is distributed nationally by Creators Syndicate.

Posted In: Allied Approaches, From Jim Hightower

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