Tennis: "An Activity of Dubious Ethical Propriety"

I don’t know about you, but I had no idea that the game of tennis, when played by a member of the United States Supreme Court, is “an activity that is itself of dubious ethical propriety”.

At the historic swearing-in of John Roberts as the 17th chief justice of the United States last September, every member of the Supreme Court, except Antonin Scalia, was in attendance. ABC News has learned that Scalia instead was on the tennis court at one of the country’s top resorts, the Ritz-Carlton hotel in Bachelor Gulch, Colo., during a trip to a legal seminar sponsored by the Federalist Society.

Not only did Scalia’s absence appear to be a snub of the new chief justice, but according to some legal ethics experts, it also raised questions about the propriety of what critics call judicial junkets.

“It’s unfortunate of course that what kept him from the swearing-in was an activity that is itself of dubious ethical propriety,” said Stephen Gillers, a New York University law professor, who is a recognized scholar on legal ethics.

I predict this story is the first in a long line of stories focusing on what ABC News calls, “judicial junkets”. After all, if your review of court rulings fail to prove that an individual justice is legislating from the bench, you have to try and prove it otherwise. That requires a little work. A little follow up. A little stake-out.


As you can see, this is one of those “camera hidden in the gym bag of an unassuming spectator during a harmless game of tennis being enjoyed by a Supreme Court Justice during personal, private time” photos. The kind the FBI shoots when they’re on the hunt for a mob boss.

Scalia had a completely appropriate response to media queries over this so-called “judicial junket”.

 “I was out of town with a commitment that I could not break, and that’s what the public information office told you,” he said.

It “doesn’t matter what it was. It was a commitment that I couldn’t break,” Scalia continued when questioned further.

Yet, that’s not good enough for law professor Stephen Gillers.


“I think Justice Scalia should not have gone on that trip for several reasons,” Gillers commented. “They are a group with a decided political-slash-judicial profile.”

One night at the resort, Scalia attended a cocktail reception, sponsored in part by the same lobbying and law firm where convicted lobbyist Jack Abramoff once worked.

“You know a lot of people would be embarrassed at that. I don’t think Antonin Scalia will be embarrassed,” Gillers continued.

I’m sure it didn’t take ABC News a long time to find someone to react critically to Justice Scalia. A quick Google search shows that Gillers is not a fan.

Democrats and their MSM partners are smarting over Bush’s success in placing two well qualified conservatives justices on the court, and there is a chance that the president will have yet one more opportunity to nominate a judge to the highest court before his term is up. Given their inability to derail John Roberts, and the pending confirmation of Sam Alito, the Liberals have no choice but to enlist their buddies in the media to construct stories full of empty allegations. Their efforts do nothing but further highlight their desperation.

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