Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Justice Alito Violates Code of Conduct for United States Judges

Perhaps Justice Alito - who in my opinion should never have been approved for a position on the U. S. Supreme Court - has been emboldened by Clarence Thomas' flouting the long standing conduct of federal judges and partisan political involvement via Virginia Thomas' outrageous conduct and acceptance of large amounts of anonymous donations for her PAC that lobbies for ultra conservative policies (Ms. Thomas, of course, draws a salary from her PAC). Whatever the motivation, Alito believes that he's above the rules. Canon 5 of the Code of Conduct for United States Judges provides in relevant part as follows:
A. General Prohibitions
. A judge should not:
(1) act as a leader or hold any office in a political organization;
(2) make speeches for a political organization or candidate, or publicly endorse or oppose a candidate for public office; or
(3) solicit funds for, pay an assessment to, or make a contribution to a political organization or candidate, or attend or purchase a ticket for a dinner or other event sponsored by a political organization or candidate.
* * *
C. Other Political Activity. A judge should not engage in any other political activity.

Pretty clear an unambiguous language, right? Apparently not if one is Samuel Alito. Then you think it's fine and daddy to attend a far right political fundraiser that backs far right Republican candidates and policies. Unfortunately, Alito's behavior is typical of the far right (especially far right Christians) who feel that the rules apply to everyone except them. ThinkProgress has coverage on this shocking improper conduct by a sitting Supreme Court justice. Three justices were relieved from the bench in Iowa by religious extremists for respecting the law. Meanwhile, justices like Alito and Thomas who violate ethical codes remain on the court. A pretty f*cked up state of affairs. Here are some highlights:
Last night, the American Spectator . . . . held its annual gala fundraising event. The Spectator is more than merely an ideological outlet. Spectator publisher Al Regnery helps lead a secretive group of conservatives called the “Conservative Action Project,” formed after President Obama’s election, to help lobby for conservative legislative priorities, elect Republicans (the Conservative Action Project helped campaign against Democrat Bill Owens in NY-23), and block President Obama’s judicial appointments. The Spectator’s gala last night, with ticket prices/sponsorship levels ranging from $250 to $25,000, featured prominent Republicans . . . .
As Alito entered the event last night, I approached the Justice and asked him why he thought it appropriate to attend a highly political fundraiser with the chairman of the Republican Party, given Alito’s position on the court. Alito appeared baffled, and replied, “it’s not important that I’m here.” “But,” I said, “you also helped headline this same event two years ago, obviously helping to raise political money as the keynote.” Alito replied curtly, “it’s not important,” before walking away from me. . . .Before I could come close to him, his security guards threatened me with arrest.
Documents exposed by ThinkProgress last month revealed that Justice Scalia and Justice Thomas have also attended secret political fundraisers. We published a memo detailing fundraising events, organized by oil billionaires David and Charles Koch, to fund Republican campaigns.
That Code [of Conduct for United States Judges] provides that in almost all circumstances, “a judge should not personally participate in fund-raising activities, solicit funds for any organization, or use or permit the use of the prestige of judicial office for that purpose. A judge should not personally participate in membership solicitation if the solicitation might reasonably be perceived as coercive or is essentially a fund-raising mechanism.”

1 comment:

Stephen said...

Had he not lied, he would not have been confirmed.