It is interesting to note that the Republican candidates for president
are bashing the federal courts for what they call improper judicial
activism. They do not cite Bush v. Gore as the classic example of
what we learned in first-year constitutional law in law school, about
courts not entering the "sticky thicket" of politics.
In fact, as The Alliance for Justice is pointing out, Justices Scalia, Alito and especially Thomas are guilty of questionable ethics in their dealings with sponsors and organizations that have matters before the court. (See here.)
Unlike all the federal court judges who are governed by standards of ethics and conflict of interest, Supreme Court justices decide for themselves whether they have a conflict, and have done so in instances where detached observers would disagree. This aloof attitude reminds me of the legislator who was asked by a reporter if it wasn’t a conflict of interest that he had a bill before him involving land he owned and which would be positively affected by this legislation. "I don’t have any conflict with that,” he replied. Another example of the principle in some Washington quarters that the only standard is the double standard.