Friday, February 19, 2016
Supreme Court Justices Travel On Other People's Dime
The Washington Post has an interesting story on how many trips Supreme Court justices are taking on someone else's dime in the wake of the discovery that the late Justice Scalia's fateful hunting trip to Cibolo Creek Ranch in Presidio County, Texas was paid by someone else, namely the owner of the ranch whose business had a case before the Supreme Court last year. As it turns out, Scalia was by far the most frequent traveler on other people's money, nearly 100 times since 2011. "There's no indication of wrongdoing or ethical impropriety here," The Post assures us.
Investigative reporter Wayne Madsen, who has been reporting from Marfa, Texas this week, has more on this angle of the Scalia death story. He notes that Scalia sided with the Cibolo Creek Ranch owner's case before the Supreme Court last year. "Scalia was one of the judges who found in favor of Poindexter by refusing to hear the age discrimination case (Hinga, James V. Mic Group) and it appears that Scalia’s “quail hunting” trip to Poindexter’s Cibolo Creek Ranch was a payback for the Supreme Court’s legal largesse," Madsen writes. "Poindexter admitted the free trip was a 'gift' to Scalia." Poindexter claims that while he didn't pay for Scalia's air travel on a private chartered jet, he did provide free room, food and drinks to the late justice during the trip.
Madsen disputes Poindexter's claim on the air travel. "However, Cibolo Creek Airport is owned by Southwestern Holdings, Inc. of Houston, which is owned by Poindexter and other reports indicated that Scalia’s air travel was also provided gratis by Poindexter," Madsen writes. "The Cibolo airport has been served by Cibolo Air’s fleet of two propeller-driven King Air 65-C90s (tail numbers N80TB and N690JP)," he adds. "At the very least, Scalia’s apparent conflict-of-interest in accepting a free trip from a Supreme Court litigant demands a federal law enforcement investigation," he continued. "Perhaps it was Scalia’s possible violation of ethics and the law that created the kerfuffle surrounding the lid being placed on details concerning his sudden death."