January 25, 2006

Dumbest judicial ethics story ever

ABC News "Nightline" is strongly in contention for that honor with its breathless Brian Ross investigative report on Justice Scalia's Federalist Society appearance. A general hail of dead cats has descended on ABC from commentators including, among others: Tom Goldstein, SCOTUSblog; Mike Cernovich, and again at more length; Orin Kerr; Sean Sirrine, Objective Justice; Ed Brayton; and Bill Nienhuis.

Don't just blame ABC, though. Blame lawprof Stephen Gillers, who was much relied on by Ross in his report, and who's enjoyed a status in much of the press for years -- a quite inexplicable status, as this episode shows -- as the go-to guy on legal ethics. (cross-posted, and slightly shortened, from Point of Law). P.S. The Federalist Society's letter in response is here in PDF format.

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