In 2011, Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Jr., used his annual report about the state of the federal judiciary to defend the probity of his Court colleagues. He was responding to members of Congress, experts in legal ethics, and legal advocacy groups who wanted the Court to be subject to the Code of Conduct for United States Judges, which applies to all other federal judges.
In the previous decade, a few of the Justices had not recused themselves from cases despite persistent doubts about their ability to decide them impartially. Most dramatically, Justice Antonin Scalia had rejected a motion that he recuse himself from a case that provided a textbook example of the circumstances a Justice should avoid.
Scalia’s close friend Dick Cheney, who was then the Vice-President, was accused of lying about the composition of a White House group that was setting national energy policy. While the case was pending, Scalia and Cheney went duck hunting together, and Cheney gave Scalia and two of his family members a ride on a government Gulfstream jet from Washington, D.C., to Louisiana, where they did their hunting.