Justice Antonin Scalia failed, once again, a basic ethics question: "Can a judge ethically decide a case involving his hunting buddy?"
Recently, he boasted that his failure to recuse himself in a 2004 case involving his hunting buddy, Dick Cheney, was the "proudest thing" he has ever done on the Supreme Court. See http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/04/12/AR2006041201905_pf.html.
However, the rule in such cases is not as Scalia stated. The rule is not whether he can be trusted to be impartial. The rule, for a judge, is whether he can avoid the appearance of partiality.
Judging a case involving a hunting buddy reasonably draws into question the impartiality of the judge. It may be that Justice Scalia is, personally, able to rule on the case fairly. However, a reasonable person could question whether there would be some tilt in his judgment.
A judge motivated by and aware of ethical issues would have recused himself.
Justice Scalia did not.
For him to boast of his violation of basic ethical standards is a shame on the Court and on the entire legal profession.
Most judges would be subject to investigation for such a violation. But, under our Constitution, the body empowered to investigate Scalia, as a member of the Supreme Court, is the Senate.
And the titular head of the Senate is Scalia's hunting buddy.