Justice For Sale



“Justice Scalia, who is sometimes called “the Justice from the Tea Party,” met behind closed doors on Capitol Hill to talk about the Constitution with a group of representatives led by Representative Michele Bachmann of the House Tea Party Caucus.”

Today’s excellent NYTimes editorial on the refusal of Supreme Court Justices to recuse themselves from cases where they have vested interests is well worth reading. From a disability rights perspective the matter is of particular importance given the Supreme Court’s dismal history when it comes to enforcing disability rights, particularly in areas of employment discrimination. When the court argues in favor of state’s rights they are arguing in favor of employers and businesses against the rights of individuals. From a disability advocate’s perspective I will always remember Justice Scalia opining that making a court house accessible for a person in a wheelchair was essentially a matter of cost rather than one of rights: "It’s enough that the cost would be excessive. So saying that so many handicapped students can’t get into schools means nothing at all." (Here Scalia argues that analogies between court house inaccessibility and the lingering inaccessibility of our nation’s public schools means nothing because this is an economic argument and not a civil rights issue.)

People in the disability rights community can’t properly defend themselves without recognizing that justice is for sale. We at POTB believe that the NYTimes call for a recusal mechanism and a financial disclosure process for Supreme Court Justices is long overdue.