FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

The Scalia-Cheney Axis of Evil

by

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:

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

zen economics

February 28, 2017
Behrooz Ghamari Tabrizi
A Paradigm Shift in the Middle East: Iran as the Solution, Not the Problem
stclair
Big Brother Capitalism Strikes Back
Stephen Cooper
Trump’s Pusillanimous Immigration Policy Imperils the Public and the Police
Vincent Emanuele
The Madness of U.S. Empire
Michael Sainato and Chelsea Skojec
We Need the Endangered Species Act Now More Than Ever
David Underhill
Oops, They Did It Again: Crowd Bowls Over Rep in Beery Alley
John Eskow
Jimmy Kimmel is a Total Dick and Other Reflections on the Oscars
Steve Horn
Trump’s Top Energy Aide, Mike Catanzaro Peddled Climate Change Denial
Jack Random
The Trump Diaries: Week Five
Robert Fisk
The Education of Marine Le Pen
Pauline Murphy
Felicia Browne’s Fight Against Fascism
Mary Lynn Cramer
Fearing the Trump Impeachment
Mel Gurtov
While Our Attention is Elsewhere, Climate Change Worsens
Dan Bacher
Extinction 2017: California Edition
Abel Cohen
The Trojan President: America Never Saw It Coming
February 27, 2017
Anthony DiMaggio
Media Ban! Making Sense of the War Between Trump and the Press
Dave Lindorff
Resume Inflation at the NSC: Lt. General McMaster’s Silver Star Was Essentially Earned for Target Practice
Conn Hallinan
Is Trump Moderating US Foreign Policy? Hardly
Norman Pollack
Political Castration of State: Militarization of Government
Kenneth Surin
Inside Dharavi, a Mumbai Slum
Lawrence Davidson
Truth vs. Trump
Binoy Kampmark
The Extradition Saga of Kim Dotcom
Robert Fisk
Why a Victory Over ISIS in Mosul Might Spell Defeat in Deir Ezzor
David Swanson
Open Guantanamo!
Ted Rall
The Republicans May Impeach Trump
Lawrence Wittner
Why Should Trump―or Anyone―Be Able to Launch a Nuclear War?
Andrew Stewart
Down with Obamacare, Up with Single Payer!
Colin Todhunter
Message to John Beddington and the Oxford Martin Commission
David Macaray
UFOs: The Myth That Won’t Die?
Weekend Edition
February 24, 2017
Friday - Sunday
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Exxon’s End Game Theory
Pierre M. Sprey - Franklin “Chuck” Spinney
Sleepwalking Into a Nuclear Arms Race with Russia
Paul Street
Liberal Hypocrisy, “Late-Shaming,” and Russia-Blaming in the Age of Trump
Ajamu Baraka
Malcolm X and Human Rights in the Time of Trumpism: Transcending the Master’s Tools
John Laforge
Did Obama Pave the Way for More Torture?
Mike Whitney
McMaster Takes Charge: Trump Relinquishes Control of Foreign Policy 
Patrick Cockburn
The Coming Decline of US and UK Power
Louisa Willcox
The Endangered Species Act: a Critical Safety Net Now Threatened by Congress and Trump
Vijay Prashad
A Foreign Policy of Cruel Populism
John Chuckman
Israel’s Terrible Problem: Two States or One?
Matthew Stevenson
The Parallax View of Donald Trump
Norman Pollack
Drumbeat of Fascism: Find, Arrest, Deport
Stan Cox
Can the Climate Survive Electoral Democracy? Maybe. Can It Survive Capitalism? No.
Ramzy Baroud
The Trump-Netanyahu Circus: Now, No One Can Save Israel from Itself
Edward Hunt
The United States of Permanent War
David Morgan
Trump and the Left: a Case of Mass Hysteria?
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail