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Cheap Hit Piece by Nightline on Our Boy Nino Scalia

Here ABC's Nightline courageously uncovers one of the biggest non-stories I have ever seen (which aired on yesterday's broadcast of Nightline). It notes that Justice Antonin Scalia missed Chief Justice Roberts's swearing in ceremony because he was "playing tennis" in Aspen. Uh huh. This of course is evidence of grave ethical abuses taking place on the Supreme Court, especially by he and Justice Thomas, the only two justices whose particular behavior the story cites.

The real story is of course that Justice Scalia was teaching at a two-day CLE in Aspen sponsored by the Federalist Society (ooh, shiver). A program that was scheduled well in advance of Justice O'Connor retiring or Chief Justice Rehnquist passing away. In between sessions, he took some time for leisure and exercise (as I am glad he does since he is not getting any younger). However, ABC paints his activities and ties to the Federalist Society as nefarious, despite the fact that the organization does no lobbying, litigation, or issue advocacy. Furthermore, the story notes that at the seminar, Justice Scalia attended a reception sponsored by a law firm where Jack Abramoff ONCE worked. It all comes together, doesn't it? Nino Scalia, Jack Abramoff, Tom DeLay, and millions of suffering children. The web of scandal and intrigue on the Right continues.

Of course, why it is unethical to miss a swearing-in ceremony, which ABC describes as "historic" (hardly), is beyond me. But the point is that just before the Alito confirmation vote, we can paint the conservative justices as corrupt and connected to all of the other Republican corruption in Washington. Note that the activities of the non-conservative justices are not mentioned (even though Justice Breyer and Kennedy are jet-setting world travelers giving lectures and attending various events and receptions), and it is only Scalia and Thomas that are indicted (they haven't had time to get anything on Roberts, yet). That my friends, is objective news reporting.

UPDATE: Human Events has more on the story and the official Federalist Society response from executive director Leonard Leo.

Hat tip: Southern Appeal

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