Scalia may have conflict on hearing BP appeal

Last Thursday, attorney Mike Papantonio said on Ed Schultz’s television program that Supreme Court Justices Antonin Scalia and Samuel Alito must recuse themselves from hearing BP’s appeal on whether it should pay further damages to businesses based on the criteria the company agreed upon in 2011.

Both justices have sons that work for the law firm Gibson Dunn, which represents BP, according to Papantonio.

On his Ring of Fire website, his researcher (Scalia and Alito Have Major Conflict in Deepwater Horizon Case) wrote that by law, a judge is required to recuse himself if:

“He or his spouse, or a person within the third degree of relationship to either of them, or the spouse of such a person: (i) Is a party to the proceeding, or an officer, director, or trustee of a party; (ii) Is acting as a lawyer in the proceeding; (iii) Is known by the judge to have an interest that could be substantially affected by the outcome of the proceeding; (iv) Is to the judge’s knowledge likely to be a material witness in the proceeding.”

This possible conflict became an even bigger issues yesterday when BP asked Justice Scalia to allow the company to avoid making payments to businesses demanding compensation for the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill while litigation continues. Scalia has responsibility for emergency applications arising from the 5th Circuit. He can either act on the request himself or refer the matter to the nine-member court as a whole.