Thursday, November 03, 2005


Look! Another Bush-nominated lying liar!
Judge Samuel A. Alito Jr. ruled in a 2002 case in favor of the Vanguard mutual fund company at a time when he owned more than $390,000 in Vanguard funds and later complained about an effort to remove him from the case, court records show -- despite an earlier promise to recuse himself from cases involving the company...

In 1990, when Alito was seeking US Senate approval for his nomination to be a circuit judge, he said in written answers to a questionnaire that he would disqualify himself from "any cases involving the Vanguard companies."
Now, I'm no lawyer, but...
(a) Except as otherwise provided in this section, whoever, in any matter within the jurisdiction of the executive, legislative, or judicial branch of the Government of the United States, knowingly and willfully -
  1. falsifies, conceals, or covers up by any trick, scheme, or device a material fact;

  2. makes any materially false, fictitious, or fraudulent statement or representation; or

  3. makes or uses any false writing or document knowing the same to contain any materially false, fictitious, or fraudulent statement or entry;
shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than 5 years, or both...

(c) With respect to any matter within the jurisdiction of the legislative branch, subsection (a) shall apply only to...
  1. administrative matters, including a claim for payment, a matter related to the procurement of property or services, personnel or employment practices, or support services, or a document required by law, rule, or regulation to be submitted to the Congress or any office or officer within the legislative branch; or

  2. any investigation or review, conducted pursuant to the authority of any committee, subcommittee, commission or office of the Congress, consistent with applicable rules of the House or Senate.
Update: I just saw this Slate article, which says
Alito does own a few individual stocks: Bristol-Myers, McDonald's, Disney, Intel, and ExxonMobil. Some pundits will suggest these holdings create conflicts of interest, but the idea that a judge's judgment would be warped by a small stake in one of the companies whose conduct he or she is evaluating is, in most cases, ludicrous, especially when such holdings are in plain sight and the judge's reputation is at stake. (A few years ago, Alito was criticized for not recusing himself from a case involving Vanguard.)
The article also says that Alito's family is worth between $600,000 and $1,600,000. Now, his judgment may not "be warped by a small stake" in an individual stock, but the $390,000 he had invested in Vanguard amounts to an amount anywhere from between about two-thirds and one quarter of Alito's total current holdings. Judgment warping? I think so. Alito must have, too, or why would he have promised all the way back in 1990 (when his holdings in Vanguard must have been considerably smaller) that he would recuse himself in Vanguard cases?


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