Click amount to donate direct to CounterPunch
  • $25
  • $50
  • $100
  • $500
  • $other
  • use PayPal
Keep CounterPunch ad free. Support our annual fund drive today!

The Scalia-Cheney Axis of Evil


cheney copy

Like Henry Kissinger, it is easy to forget Dick Cheney is still alive until he makes a macabre appearance. But there he was, sitting in the front section of Justice Scalia’s memorial service at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington D.C. last week.

Cheney and Scalia were hunting buddies. But their love of blood sports–Scalia even died on a hunting trip–also raised ethical questions over ten years ago after they went duck hunting at a private camp in southern Louisiana. The problem was the court had just agreed to hear the Veep’s appeal of lawsuits from the Sierra Club and Judicial Watch that charged that he and his staff violated an open-government measure in formulating their energy policy. Specifically, they were charged with violation of the Federal Advisory Committee Act by allegedly meeting behind closed doors with outside lobbyists for the oil, gas, coal and nuclear industries including Kenneth L. Lay of Enron. Who remembers Enron and Ken Lay?

Federal law rules that “any justice or judge shall disqualify himself in any proceeding in which his impartiality might be questioned,” but Scalia disagreed. “Cheney was indeed among the party of about nine who hunted from the camp,” he admitted. “Social contacts with high-level executive officials (including cabinet officers) have never been thought improper for judges who may have before them cases in which those people are involved in their official capacity, as opposed to their personal capacity.”

The Bush administration regarded the case as a test of executive power and claimed that forcing disclosure of confidential records such as private meetings intruded on a president’s power to obtain advice. Without privacy, discussions on prickly matters could be difficult said the White House. The court ended up throwing the case back to a lower court without addressing the White House’s executive power question.

Though many claimed Cheney could not have a heart attack, because he had no heart, he suffered several heart attacks over his life. After repeated attacks, a bypass and a pump, Cheney got a heart transplant in 2012.

“Two years ago this time I was on a respirator, heavily sedated. Just had a pump… installed on my heart because my heart had gotten so weak after six heart attacks and 30-some years of heart disease that it was, you know, it was at the end,” he said after the transplant. “There’s not been a single glitch, no sign of rejection, everything’s just gone perfectly.”

Cheney neither knows whose heart saved his live or thinks about it much. “I don’t spend time wondering who had it, what they’d done, what kind of person,” he said. “The way I think of it from a psychological standpoint is that it’s my new heart, not someone else’s old heart.”

Nor did Cheney’s new heart give him new reverence for life. Soon after his transplant, the Denver Post reported the Veep planned to return to blood sports and participate in Wyoming’s One Shot Antelope Hunt. The event is a duel between Wyoming and Colorado and “the team that kills the most antelope in the shortest time wins,” says the Associated Press. There was no mention if Scalia would be joining Cheney in the killing derby.

Martha Rosenberg is an investigative health reporter. She is the author of  Born With A Junk Food Deficiency: How Flaks, Quacks and Hacks Pimp The Public Health (Prometheus).

More articles by:

2016 Fund Drive
Smart. Fierce. Uncompromised. Support CounterPunch Now!

  • cp-store
  • donate paypal

CounterPunch Magazine


October 26, 2016
John W. Whitehead
A Deep State of Mind: America’s Shadow Government and Its Silent Coup
Eric Draitser
Dear Liberals: Trump is Right
Anthony Tarrant
On the Unbearable Lightness of Whiteness
Mark Weisbrot
The Most Dangerous Place in the World: US Pours in Money, as Blood Flows in Honduras
Chris Welzenbach
The Establishment and the Chattering Hack: a Response to Nicholas Lemann
Luke O'Brien
The Churchill Thing: Some Big Words About Trump and Some Other Chap
Sabia Rigby
In the “Jungle:” Report from the Refugee Camp in Calais, France
Linn Washington Jr.
Pot Decriminalization Yields $9-million in Savings for Philadelphia
Pepe Escobar
“America has lost” in the Philippines
Pauline Murphy
Political Feminism: the Legacy of Victoria Woodhull
Lizzie Maldonado
The Burdens of World War III
David Swanson
Slavery Was Abolished
Thomas Mountain
Preventing Cultural Genocide with the Mother Tongue Policy in Eritrea
Colin Todhunter
Agrochemicals And The Cesspool Of Corruption: Dr. Mason Writes To The US EPA
October 25, 2016
David Swanson
Halloween Is Coming, Vladimir Putin Isn’t
Hiroyuki Hamada
Fear Laundering: an Elaborate Psychological Diversion and Bid for Power
Priti Gulati Cox
President Obama: Before the Empire Falls, Free Leonard Peltier and Mumia Abu-Jamal
Kathy Deacon
Plus ça Change: Regime Change 1917-1920
Robin Goodman
Appetite for Destruction: America’s War Against Itself
Richard Moser
On Power, Privilege, and Passage: a Letter to My Nephew
Rev. William Alberts
The Epicenter of the Moral Universe is Our Common Humanity, Not Religion
Dan Bacher
Inspector General says Reclamation Wasted $32.2 Million on Klamath irrigators
David Mattson
A Recipe for Killing: the “Trust Us” Argument of State Grizzly Bear Managers
Derek Royden
The Tragedy in Yemen
Ralph Nader
Breaking Through Power: It’s Easier Than We Think
Norman Pollack
Centrist Fascism: Lurching Forward
Guillermo R. Gil
Cell to Cell Communication: On How to Become Governor of Puerto Rico
Mateo Pimentel
You, Me, and the Trolley Make Three
Cathy Breen
“Today Is One of the Heaviest Days of My Life”
October 24, 2016
John Steppling
The Unwoke: Sleepwalking into the Nightmare
Oscar Ortega
Clinton’s Troubling Silence on the Dakota Access Pipeline
Patrick Cockburn
Aleppo vs. Mosul: Media Biases
John Grant
Humanizing Our Militarized Border
Franklin Lamb
US-led Sanctions Targeting Syria Risk Adjudication as War Crimes
Paul Bentley
There Must Be Some Way Out of Here: the Silence of Dylan
Norman Pollack
Militarism: The Elephant in the Room
Patrick Bosold
Dakota Access Oil Pipeline: Invite CEO to Lunch, Go to Jail
Paul Craig Roberts
Was Russia’s Hesitation in Syria a Strategic Mistake?
David Swanson
Of All the Opinions I’ve Heard on Syria
Weekend Edition
October 21, 2016
Friday - Sunday
John Wight
Hillary Clinton and the Brutal Murder of Gaddafi
Diana Johnstone
Hillary Clinton’s Strategic Ambition in a Nutshell
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Trump’s Naked and Hillary’s Dead
John W. Whitehead
American Psycho: Sex, Lies and Politics Add Up to a Terrifying Election Season
Stephen Cooper
Hell on Earth in Alabama: Inside Holman Prison
Patrick Cockburn
13 Years of War: Mosul’s Frightening and Uncertain Future