This is not acceptable

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  • Dale Eisman

Please see this Los Angeles Times story based on the release Common Cause put out Monday on the fact that Supreme Court Justices Clarence Thomas and Antonin Scalia – hours after considering whether to hear challenges to national health care reform — were honored at a fundraiser dinner sponsored in part by law firms engaged in the litigation.

In fact, Paul Clement, who is likely to argue the case against the Affordable Care Act before the Court, sat at a table right near where Thomas and Scalia had dinner, according to the Federalist’s Society’s dinner program.

If any other judge did this, he or she would be in violation of the Code of Conduct for US Judges, which states: a judge “may not be a speaker, a guest of honor, or featured on the program of such an event.” Thomas and Scalia were all three.

“This stunning breach of ethics and indifference to the code belies claims by several justices that the court abides by the same rules that apply to all other federal judges,” said Bob Edgar, the president of Common Cause. “The justices were wining and dining at a black-tie fundraiser with attorneys who have pending cases before the court. Their appearance and assistance in fundraising for this event undercuts any claims of impartiality, and is unacceptable.”

View Common Cause’s press release from Monday.