Judge Alito writes WSJ op-ed ahead of ProPublica story

Associate Justice of the Supreme Court Samuel Alito speaks during the 40th anniversary of the Federalist Society at Union Station in Washington, Monday, Nov. 10, 2022. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)

Rather than comment on the record behind recent exposes on luxury yacht travel sponsored by the billionaire GOP by fellow conservative Justice Clarence Thomas, Justice Samuel Alito wrote an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal to say that there was nothing to see in a forthcoming article about a fishing trip to Alaska in 2008.

Alito anticipated the publication of “Judge Samuel Alito took a luxury fishing vacation with a GOP billionaire who later had court cases” with the editorial after being given the weekend to respond to a series questions about the 2008 private jet takeover in Alaska about the penny of billionaire hedge fund Elliott Management and GOP donor Paul Singer, president of the Manhattan Institute – an influential conservative political think tank – friend of the Federalist Society and so-called “vulture capitalist”.

The crux of the ProPublica story is this:

ProPublica’s investigation sheds new light on how luxury travel has given prominent political donors — including one who has had cases before the Supreme Court — intimate access to the nation’s most powerful justices. Another wealthy businessman offered expensive vacations to two members of the high court, ProPublica found. On his trip to Alaska, Alito stayed at a commercial fishing lodge owned by this businessman, who was also a major Conservative donor. Three years earlier, the same businessman flew Judge Antonin Scalia, who died in 2016, on a private jet to Alaska and paid the bill for his stay.

The story, noting that the private jet flight to Alaska “could have exceeded $100,000 one way,” said Singer went on to reap a $2.4 billion windfall six years later when the Supreme Court ruled in his favor in a foreign sovereign immunity law case stylized as Republic of Argentina v. NML Capital.

That case involved a subsidiary of Singer’s Elliot Management, but according to ProPublica, “In the years since, Singer’s hedge fund has come to court at least 10 times in cases where its role was often covered by the legal press and mainstream media.”

With regard to the case Republic of Argentina v. NML Capital, the decision was 7 to 1, with Judge Ruth Bader Ginsburg the lone dissenter and Judge Sonia Sotomayor not participating. Alito didn’t write anything. That was left to Justice Antonin Scalia, who wrote the opinion of a majority including Chief Justice John Roberts, Justice Anthony Kennedy, Justice Stephen Breyer and Justice Elena Kagan.

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