It has become obvious the lawyers who sit as the US Supreme Court as judges DO NOT have much of ANY rules governing the conduct…
They actually don’t have to be lawyers….
ProPublica IS fronting this fact to the public….
They started with Clarence Thomas….
Now they are going after Sam Alito…..
These two guys have been hanging out and getting things paid for by Rich guys who later have cases the same judges rule on…..Something other government employee’s would have issue with….
The only inquiry comes when they take their job interview’s before Congress……
ALITO’S TURN — Just before midnight, ProPublica dropped its latest investigation into a Supreme Court justice’s questionable acceptance of lavish gifts from wealthy benefactors, another major scoop from reporters Justin Elliott, Joshua Kaplan and Alex Mierjeski that is well summarized by its headline: “Justice SAMUEL ALITO Took Luxury Fishing Vacation With GOP Billionaire Who Later Had Cases Before the Court.”
But what’s especially notable about this new SCOTUS bombshell is what preceded it: An attempt by Alito himself to front-run ProPublica’s reporting and spin the story in his favor.
The reporters requested comment on the June 2008 trip from Alito on Friday, and yesterday, according to their story, “the Supreme Court’s head spokeswoman told ProPublica that Alito would not be commenting.”
Hours later, the Wall Street Journal published an op-ed from Alito titled “ProPublica Misleads Its Readers,” accusing the organization of leveling “false charges” about the nature of the trip and justices’ obligations to disclose gifts and recuse themselves from potential conflicts of interest.
— Alito argues in the piece that he had no need to recuse himself because he had never “discussed the activities of his businesses” with the billionaire on whose plane he flew, PAUL SINGER, and that he was unaware that Singer had any connection to the corporate entities who later ended up before the Supreme Court (winning, with Alito’s support). He further suggested the plane ride was of no great consequence since Singer “allowed me to occupy what would have otherwise been an unoccupied seat.”
— As for disclosing the gifts associated with the trip — which included not only the flight but room and board at Alaska’s pricey King Salmon Lodge comped by then-owner ROBIN ARKLEY, who like Singer is a prolific donor to conservative legal causes — Alito cited the court’s practice at the time and definitions from Black’s Law Dictionary and Random House Webster’s Unabridged Dictionary to argue that transportation is encompassed in the word “facilities.”
His defense is, in a word, lawyerly. ProPublica’s story, on the other hand, is devastating in its broad strokes.
Like ProPublica’s previous SCOTUS stories, the core issue here is what rules the nine justices, who currently operate as the final arbiters on prickly issues that define American life, should have to follow themselves.
Most any other federal employee is prohibited from accepting anything but the smallest of gifts due to ethical concerns. ProPublica’s revelations, particularly involving Justice CLARENCE THOMAS and his relationship with billionaire HARLAN CROW, have revealed in stark detail how the justices essentially answer to no one on ethical issues.
In that context, Alito’s op-ed comes off as small and bickering, particularly in contrast to the facts laid out in the story: Experts told ProPublica that rules at the time clearly required disclosure for gifts of travel, and the reporters found at least six examples of other federal judges disclosing gifts of private jet travel in recent years.
ProPublica declined to comment to Playbook on Alito’s op-ed ahead of their story’s publication.
The authors quote Georgetown law professor ABBE SMITH, an expert on legal and judicial ethics: “If she were representing a client and learned the judge had taken a gift from the party on the other side, Smith said, she would immediately move for recusal. ‘If I found out after the fact, I’d be outraged on behalf of my client,’ she said. ‘And, frankly, I’d be outraged on behalf of the legal system.’”….