Antonin Scalia

Military Brass to Brassy Belter: Recuse Thyself


Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, whose Ethel Mermanesque rendition of "People Will Say We're In Love" has been known to make all of official Washington want to take a shower, is being urged to hit the showers himself after belting out some incautious comments in Europe:

On the eve of oral argument in a key Supreme Court case on the rights of alleged terrorists, a group of retired U.S. generals and admirals has asked Justice Antonin Scalia to recuse himself, arguing that his recent public comments on the subject make it impossible for him to appear impartial.

In a letter delivered to the court late yesterday, a lawyer for the retired officers cited news reports of Scalia's March 8 remarks to an audience at the University of Freiburg in Switzerland. Scalia reportedly said it was "crazy" to suggest that combatants captured fighting the United States should receive a "full jury trial," and dismissed suggestions that the Geneva Conventions might apply to detainees at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

Scalia's remarks "give rise to the unfortunate appearance that, even before briefing was complete, he had already made up his mind" about issues in the case, the lawyer, David H. Remes, wrote. Noting that Scalia reportedly had discussed the rights of accused terrorists in the context of his son Matthew's recent tour as an Army officer in Iraq, Remes wrote that this creates an appearance of "personal bias arising from his son's military service."

Whole story.

The retirees' request caps a controversy over whether Scalia, like John Roberts, should recuse himself in the Hamdan case. Scalia sat for the oral arguments yesterday and does not appear to be taking a powder in the case.

In a related story, "Nino" gives the fig to the Boston Herald, which he says misinterpreted one of his Italian hand gestures.