|Members of the International Order of St. Hubertus|
The story raises serious questions about the integrity of the nation's highest court. And this might be the most serious question of all: If SCOTUS tolerates, even flaunts, such conflicts of interest, how rampant and brazen must ethical violations be on lower courts, at both the federal and state levels?
It's intriguing, even amusing, that Scalia was hanging out with members of a hunting fraternity that dates to the 1600s in Austrian. But here is the troubling part: The friend with whom Scalia traveled to Cibolo Creek Ranch in Texas was prominent Washington, D.C., lawyer C. Allen Foster--and he's had business before the Supreme Court.
Ranch owner John B. Poindexter had declined to identify Scalia's companion, but the information came from an incident report by Presidio County Sheriff Danny Dominguez. Ironically, Yahoo! News reports, Poindexter had told Dominguez that he had no jurisdiction over the case. That must have been surprising news to the sheriff. Ranch owners make these kinds of determinations in Texas?
Dominguez' incident report provides all sorts of intriguing information about the events surrounding Scalia's death. In fact, it's the sheriff's report that identifies C. Allen Foster as Scalia's traveling companion. From Yahoo! News:
Poindexter has previously said Scalia traveled to the ranch with a friend but declined to name the companion. Dominguez's report identifies him as Allen Foster.
The report provides no details on Foster's background, but C. Allen Foster is a Washington, D.C., lawyer who has previously represented clients in cases before the Supreme Court. When contacted Wednesday at his law firm, a secretary said he was traveling out of the country and unavailable until his return on Thursday. He did not respond to an email seeking comment.
|C. Allen Foster|
According to his firm's website, Foster has served as special litigation counsel to the Republican Party.Here is Scalia, who took an oath to uphold the law in an objective way, hanging out with special counsel for the Republican Party. Gee, I wonder if Foster was involved in the Bush v. Gore free-for-all of 2000.
That's not all. Here's this from The Post:
Planes owned by Wallace “Happy” Rogers III and the company of A.J. Lewis III left from San Antonio and arrived at the ranch just after noon Feb. 12. The planes departed the ranch about 30 minutes apart Feb. 14, according to flight records provided to The Post by FlightAware.
Rogers owns the Buckhorn Saloon and Museum in San Antonio. He has donated $65,000 to Republican candidates since 2008. Lewis is the owner of a restaurant supplier company, also based in San Antonio. He has given $3,500 to GOP candidates since 2007.
Rogers and Lewis have both served as prior officers in the Texas chapter of the International Order of St. Hubertus, according to Texas business records. Rogers spoke to a Post reporter briefly on the phone and confirmed that he was at the ranch the weekend of Scalia’s death. He declined to comment further.
Lewis did not respond to several attempts for comment.
Again, you have Scalia hanging out with big-money GOP donors. Most first-year law students probably know that the general standard for judges is to avoid "even the appearance of impropriety." Why didn't Scalia know that--or why did he not practice it? Was Scalia so arrogant that he didn't think ethical considerations applied to him?
In death, Scalia might have done the country the kind of favor he hardly ever did in life--he's helped to show that our nation's "justice system" is a sleaze pit from top to bottom.