Following reports that Justice Antonin Scalia’s host in Texas, John Poindexter, had a case come before the court last fall (Hinga v. Mic Group, in which the justices denied cert.), Fix the Court released the following statement from its executive director, Gabe Roth:
Today’s revelation that Scalia was staying for free on the ranch of an individual who mere months ago had business before the justices underscores the many mysteries that have become routine with the court – from disclosures to recusals to outside activities – and highlights the lack of publicly available information about how the institution and its members operate.
While the justices are charged with listing their travel and reimbursements on their annual financial disclosure forms, no unbiased, outside body has the mandate or resources to ensure the accuracy of these reports. Who is to say that a benefit given to a justice by a potential Supreme Court respondent is not a common occurrence?
That the justices are so secretive about their outside activities raises the specter of obfuscation – and provokes basic questions about the integrity of their institution.