So ProPublica has another story about a Supreme Court justice accepting trips from a billionaire — and this time it’s Sam Alito.
In early July 2008, Samuel Alito stood by a river in a remote corner of Alaska. The Supreme Court justice was vacationing at a luxury fishing lodge that charged more than $1,000 a day, and after catching a king salmon the size of his leg, Alito posed for a photo. To her left beamed a man: Paul Singer, a hedge fund billionaire who has repeatedly asked the Supreme Court to rule in his favor in high-stakes business disputes.
Singer was more than a fishing buddy. He flew Alito to Alaska in a private jet. If the judge had chartered the plane himself, the cost could have exceeded $100,000 one way.
In the years since, Singer’s hedge fund has come to court at least 10 times in cases where his role was often covered by the legal press and mainstream media. In 2014, the court agreed to resolve a key issue in a decade-long battle between Singer’s hedge fund and the nation of Argentina. Alito did not recuse himself from the case and voted with a 7-1 majority in favor of Singer. The hedge fund was eventually paid $2.4 billion.
Alito did not report the 2008 fishing trip in his annual financial statements. By failing to disclose the private jet flight provided by Singer, Alito appears to have violated a federal law that requires judges to disclose most gifts, according to ethics law experts.
ProPublica reached out to Alito’s office, and of course Alito responded by…running to the Wall St. Journal’s op-ed page with his petulant apology. No, not even an apology — more like “How DARE YOU?”
Rupert Murdoch’s WSJ is behind a paywall, so I’ll give you the short version: “If I hadn’t taken that seat on that private jet, it would have been empty! Wahh!”
“I don’t remember drinking $1,000 a bottle wine, even though someone in my circle bragged about it. Wahh!”
“How am I supposed to know that an LLC that has a case in court belongs to my billionaire friend who takes me on luxury trips? This is so HARD!!! Wahhh!”
I wrote before that my friend was secretary to the presiding judge of the 3rd Circuit while Alito was there, and that said judge invariably called him “that right-wing jerk.” So yes, it has always been like that.
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