By Chris Daly
The Times brings us a story today on the shoddy behavior of people who should know better: Justices Thomas and Scalia. The upshot is that those two conservative justices think nothing of accepting the largesse of the vast, conservative idea-generating industry.
Shame on them, of course. But more disappointing is that the story points up the limits of the supposed remedy: disclosure. Disclosure is often put forward as the answer to our ills, and I think journalists are especially drawn to it as a remedy — given our belief in the curative powers of information.
But, what happens when people don’t disclose? (Because they couldn’t figure out the disclosure requirements? Come on.)
Or, what happens when they do disclose and nothing happens? (I guess Scalia figures there is nothing wrong with letting the Federalist Society pay for him to go to a retreat organized by Charles Koch and speak to a dinner of rich, powerful conservatives.)
They don’t seem to get the simple idea that they are supposed to BE impartial and APPPEAR impartial. Call me naive, but I would have thought that would be the minimum standard for a Supreme Court justice. At least, the coverage allows us to keep track of how they are performing.