Sheldon Whitehouse on the Samuel Alito ethics scandal


Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (DR.I.) said he didn’t think Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito did himself any favors with his lengthy preface to ethical issues raised in a report on a free luxury fishing trip have.

“It’s a real mess, and the excuses I think just made it worse,” Whitehouse told MSNBC’s Jonathan Capehart about the scandal.

Earlier this week, Alito issued a bizarre, preemptive counterargument in The Wall Street Journal, defending himself against ethics allegations hours before ProPublica published it.

The nonprofit reported that in 2008, the conservative judge took a luxury fishing trip to Alaska aboard a private jet chartered by hedge fund billionaire Paul Singer, who then petitioned the Supreme Court to rule in his favor on several business disputes. The flight was arranged by Leonard Leo, a prominent Conservative politician who was then chairman of the Federalist Society.

Alito failed to report the trip on his financial disclosure forms, nor did he withdraw from cases involving Singer’s businesses.

“The excuses that Alito made are so absurd that they’re almost self-incriminating,” Whitehouse said. “This business – ‘an airplane is a facility’ – I mean, Jonathan, how many times have we traveled by plane and has anyone ever called it a facility?”

In his Wall Street Journal editorial, Alito argued that he needn’t have disclosed the trip because it was “personal hospitality,” which he said was technically defined as “encompassing hospitality offered by one person to one non-business purpose, not by any person.” Company or organization … on land or facilities owned by [a] Person.”

Alito argued that the term ‘facilities’ includes ‘means of transport’ (e.g. a private plane) and provided a lengthy section of definitions of the term.

“By considering an airplane as a facility … he distracted everyone from the actual text of the very rule of ‘personal hospitality,’ which limits it to food, lodging and entertainment,” Whitehouse said. “It’s pretty prescriptive. It is not permissible to count jet travel as personal hospitality, even if one describes a jet as a facility.”

Whitehouse said investigators were “getting to the bottom” of the ethics bombshells surrounding Alito and his Conservative fellow judge Clarence Thomas, but also stressed the need to “scrutinize this creepy group of right-wing billionaires meddling in the Supreme Court.” gain weight.

“The role of these right-wing billionaires spans the entire judicial selection process through to the judicial nomination process, the actual courtroom debate, and now what you find out.” [about] “These appalling, undiscovered, repeated gifts,” Whitehouse said.

Watch the interview on MSNBC below.

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