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The Coordinated Attack on Scalia

As Ronald Cass wrote three weeks ago on RealClearPolitics, expect to hear the call for Justice Scalia to recuse himself to continue as liberals try and find ways to silence the conservative justice:

The game now is to find a way of making it seem that Scalia's personal life and conduct commit him to positions on important legal issues in a way that interferes with his ability to decide matters impartially - not because Scalia has in fact done so and not because his accusers care about impartiality. Instead, the game matters because Scalia is the leading voice for a set of legal propositions that run counter to the political, social, and constitutional agenda of the dominant voices in almost every major element of America's Speaking elites.

That is why Justice Scalia's comings and goings, his associations, his speeches, all have become the focus of media attention. It is not simply his Catholicism that is an issue. It is anything he says and does that can be grist for a demand that he step aside from a case where his participation would matter.....

It reflects a dedicated effort to make him a news item in hopes of disqualifying him from deciding, or limiting his influence on, those very issues.

Today New York Times editorial board member Adam Cohen chips in his little part to keep the liberal tap-tap-tap against Scalia going:

Justice Antonin Scalia has gone too far -- and he keeps on doing it.

He made national headlines recently for making a gesture that may or may not be obscene. If it wasn't obscene, it was certainly coarse and undignified.

He recently called those who disagree with his unconventional views of the Constitution "idiots."

His public statements often make him sound more like a political partisan than a judge. He is particularly bad on the subject of Bush v. Gore, the decision that put President Bush in the White House, a low point in the Supreme Court's history that Justice Scalia should not be pulling down any lower.

Worst of all, Justice Scalia refuses to abide by the basic principles of recusal, the law that forbids judges from hearing cases in which they are not impartial, or will not be viewed as impartial. A few weeks ago, he took part in a case involving the rights of detainees after making inflammatory statements that seriously called his fairness into question.

As Cass says, these are not one-off comments, but part of an overall liberal strategy to diminish Scalia's influence and ratchet up public pressure for him to recuse himself from cases where they fear Scalia's conservative vote. Cohen continues with his screed against Scalia, which at its core is all about Scalia's conservative judicial philosophy and not his out of court "actions." Does one really believe that if Scalia held the same judicial philosophy as William Brennan or Ruth Bader Ginsburg we would be hearing these complaints from Cohen? I don't think so.

Cohen stoops even lower with a veiled hint that Scalia is suffering some sort of aging related mental infirmity when he writes:

The rate of Justice Scalia's disturbing words and deeds is increasing -- now, it seems, he can be counted on to embarrass the court publicly roughly every few weeks. There is debate among court-watchers about why this is happening.

A little later Cohen suggests that some of the motivation for Scalia's "actions" that he finds so offensive might be in response to not getting the Chief Justice nod or a changing PR strategy, but I still read the earlier paragraph as laying the seeds for a "Scalia is Losing It" attack.

Finally, Cohen proposes a new recusal process where "an alternating panel of three justices" would vote on recusal motions. It is interesting how in the last 50 years while the Supreme Court has had a liberal or split bench, the recusal issue never came up. But now that judicial conservatives are close to a majority on the court, suddenly we get ideas about how three justices should be able to vote certain justices off cases.

Expect the liberal attacks on Scalia to continue. This is not an isolated article, it is a deliberate strategy by the left.