In a move that has so far gone under the political radar, Antonin Scalia is scheduled to give a closed-door address to the Tea Party Caucus tomorrow afternoon.
The Tea Party Caucus, an informal congressional body, had invited the 74-year-old Scalia to talk informally with legislators, the first in what leaders are billing as regular "conservative constitutional seminars."
The event was designed as a "teaching event" only for members of Congress, and no cameras or reporters would be allowed to cover it. Scalia's scheduled one-hour topic will be "separation of powers."
The fact that a Supreme Court justice is even at such an event (Bachmann says Democrats are invited, but does anyone think a Dem would feel welcome at a "conservative constitutional seminar"?) is questionable enough. But behind closed doors? Does anyone else smell a fish decaying in the moonlight?
Jonathan Turley, a law professor at George Washington University, thought so not long after this was announced.
This particular appearance leaves the impression of an alliance between a conservative justice and conservative members in a Congress planning a series of measures based on a conservative reading of the Constitution. It undermines the integrity of the Court and I would be equally opposed to liberal justices participating in Democratic training sessions. Such participation leaves the appearance of a pep talk like a coach at the start of a game.
In an op-ed in today's WaPo, Turley says that Scalia has become the first real "celebrity justice"--and it could be bad for SCOTUS long-term.
There's already a growing movement to retroactively recuse Scalia and Thomas from the Citizens United case because they appeared at events sponsored by the Koch brothers. This appearance might add more fuel to that fire.