The Watch

The Watch is concerned about the increasing pressure towards feudalism in the United States from corporations, social regressives, warmongers, and the media. We also are concerned with future history concerning our current times, as non-truths which are “widely reported” become the basis for completely false narratives.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Alito and the Conflict of Interest

Supreme Court Watch

Regarding the Boston Globe article on Judge Alito...

Boston Globe

Realistically, it's not a conflict of interest and Vanguard appears to have been acting properly. However, the fact remains that Alito gave sworn testimony to Congress at his 1990 confirmation hearings and promised to recuse himself from any cases involving Vanguard. Then, when a case involving Vanguard came across his bench, he didn't recuse himself, and the chief administrative judge was forced to vacate the decision due to a possible conflict of interest. Then Alito complained that his decision was vacated.

When this was brought to the White House's attention, they opted to take the high road... and lie...

Dana Perino, the White House Spokesliar, wrote this response via e-mail:


''These facts remain: Judge Alito had no financial interest in the company involved in this case, he immediately recused himself to avoid any hint of a conflict, his opinion was vacated and the plaintiff's case was taken up by a new panel, and his answer on the questionnaire obviously refers to any matter in which he would have a financial stake."
Asked why Alito did not recuse himself after learning that it involved Vanguard, White House spokeswoman Dana Perino criticized those who are raising questions about Alito's actions. ''Clearly there are some who are trying to tarnish the reputation of a lifelong public servant who is praised for his integrity, fairness, and temperament from people from all walks of life"

Let's look at this claim in more detail:

Claim Number 1:

Judge Alito had no financial interest in the company involved in this case

Locke's Finding of Fact:
True. The mutual fund "stock" that Locke owned was not in jeopardy from any ruling that he might make.

Claim Number 2:

he immediately recused himself to avoid any hint of a conflict

Locke's Finding of Fact:
False. He issued a ruling that had to be vacated. He did not avoid any hint of a conflict.

Claim Number 3:

his opinion was vacated and the plaintiff's case was taken up by a new panel

Locke's Finding of Fact:
True

Claim Number 4:

his answer on the questionnaire obviously refers to any matter in which he would have a financial stake

Locke's Finding of Fact:
False. His questionnaire did not obviously refer to this. In fact, in 1990, Alito said in written answers to the questionnaire that he would disqualify himself from ''any cases involving the Vanguard companies." He did not state that he would have to have a financial stake in the company in order to disqualify himself.


SO, let's tally the White House's final score:

2 Lies, 2 Truths, and 1 attempt to criticize people who would dare to question the qualifications of someone who is up for a lifetime appointment to the highest court in the land. All in a day's work for a White House Spokesliar.

As for Alito, sure there was no real conflict of interest, but the real way to deal with conflicts of interest is to ensure that there is not even an appearance of a conflict. This apparent conflict of interest ended up costing the taxpayers money because the decision had to be vacated and a new decision had to be reached.

Furthermore, the fact that in 1990 Alito was specifically asked about and specifically stated that he would recuse himself from any case involving Vanguard -- and then the fact that he didn't -- make one want to question his integrity.

-John Locke

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