Sam Alito Raising Funds for Right Wing Causes in Violation of Code of Conduct for U.S. Judges

Justice Samuel Alito

Lee Fang of Think Progress reports:

Last night, the American Spectator — a right-wing magazine known for its role in the “Arkansas Project,” a well-funded effort to invent stories with the goal of eventually impeaching President Clinton — 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 like RNC chairman Michael Steele, hedge fund billionaire Paul Singer (a major donor to Republican campaign committees and attack ad groups), and U.S. Chamber of Commerce board member and former Allied Capital CEO William Walton. Among the attendees toasting Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN), the keynote speaker for the event, was Supreme Court Justice Sam Alito.

Fang, who was at the event, asked Alito why he was attending a partisan fund-raising event. Alito responded, “It’s not important that I’m here.” Fang pointed out that Alito had headlined the same event in 2008 and had used his speech to ridicule now Vice President Joe Biden.

Apparently, Alito is a regular benefactor for highly political conservative fundraisers. Last year, he headlined the fundraising dinner for the Intercollegiate Studies Institute (ISI) — the same corporate front that funded the rise of Republican dirty trickster James O’Keefe and anti-masturbation activist Christine O’Donnell. According to the sponsorship levels for the event, Alito helped ISI raise $70,000 or more.

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, judicial elections, and groups running ads in the 2010 midterm election. The fundraisers, attended by some of the nation’s wealthiest bankers, industrialists, and other executives, help fund much of the conservative infrastructure. The memo stated the Thomas and Alito were past participants of the Koch fundraisers.

What the hell?! This kind of conduct is explicitly forbidden by the Code of Conduct for United States Judges (via Raw Story), which clearly states that a “judge should refrain from political activity.” Specifically, he or she should not:

“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.”

According to Raw Story,

In 2009, Alito also headlined a fundraising dinner for the Intercollegiate Studies Institute, which funded the conservative journalist James O’Keefe and Delaware Senate candidate Christine O’Donnell. Alito is reported to have helped the institute raise $70,000.

This is absolutely outrageous! Will the Obama administration or Congress respond, or are these kinds of partisan political activities on the part of Supreme Court Justices just fine with them? Keep in mind that these three justices voted in favor of “Citizens United” in the recent controversial decision that opened the doors to unlimited campaign spending by corporations. Lest we forget, “Citizens United” was originally called Citizens United Not Timid (get it?), and was formed in order to destroy Hillary Clinton’s presidential candidacy.

By the way, have you heard that Alito plans to skip the State of Union Address this year? This man does not belong on the Supreme Court.

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20 Comments on “Sam Alito Raising Funds for Right Wing Causes in Violation of Code of Conduct for U.S. Judges”

  1. bostonboomer says:

    George Bush in “Decision Points”: How Roberts and Alito ended up on the Supreme Court.

    http://blogs.wsj.com/law/2010/11/10/bush-in-decision-points-how-roberts-alito-landed-on-the-court/

  2. Dee says:

    This makes me sick. When the Dem Wusses had the numbers they wouldn’t do anything about Alito or Thomas.

    Now their excuse will be that they don’t have the numbers. Not even realizing the reason they don’t have the numbers is because they are Wusses and won’t do the right thing.

  3. mablue2 says:

    These Right-wing Justices are creeps. They have absolutely no shame.

    • bostonboomer says:

      Barack Obama defending Dem Senators for voting for Roberts in 2006:

      I voted against Roberts on the floor this morning. But short of mounting an all-out filibuster — a quixotic fight I would not have supported; a fight I believe Democrats would have lost both in the Senate and in the court of public opinion; a fight that would have been difficult for Democratic senators defending seats in states like North Dakota and Nebraska that are essential for Democrats to hold if we hope to recapture the majority; and a fight that would have effectively signaled an unwillingness on the part of Democrats to confirm any Bush nominee, an unwillingness which I believe would have set a dangerous precedent for future administrations — blocking Roberts was not a realistic option.

      In such circumstances, attacks on Pat Leahy, Russ Feingold and the other Democrats who, after careful consideration, voted for Roberts make no sense. Russ Feingold, the only Democrat to vote not only against war in Iraq but also against the Patriot Act, doesn’t become complicit in the erosion of civil liberties simply because he chooses to abide by a deeply held and legitimate view that a President, having won a popular election, is entitled to some benefit of the doubt when it comes to judicial appointments. Like it or not, that view has pretty strong support in the Constitution’s design.

      What an asshat (h/t The Rock)

  4. Delphyne says:

    Our 3 branches of government have gone rogue. That this is alarming to me is an extreme understatement.

  5. HT says:

    At a loss. Started off making a sardonic comment, then couldn’t. This is so serious. I cannot even comment. I always knew that Thomas was corrupt, but always hoped that the rest would abide by their commitment. Guess I was wrong.

  6. Adrienne in CA says:

    And this job is for life? Alito admits he can’t maintain the pretense of impartiality even for the duration of a State of the Union speech.

    The presidential address to Congress, he said, has become too political and “very awkward” for members of the court who are supposed to appear nonpartisan: “We have to sit there like the proverbial potted plant…and that’s sometimes very hard.” (Alito, you recall, created a stir last January when shook his head and appeared to mouth the words “not true” in response to President Obama’s remarks criticizing the court’s ruling on campaign finance.)

    Judicial temperament my ass.

    ****A

    • bostonboomer says:

      He doesn’t belong on the Supreme Court, and neither do Scalia, Thomas, or Roberts. I just hope Obama doesn’t get another chance at a SCOTUS nomination.

      • Adrienne in CA says:

        How much worse could he do than Alito? This behavior is too aggregious to go unchallenged until we have a better President (whenever the hell that will be). Besides, I’d enjoy seeing the Republicans put in the position of defending judicial bias.

        *****A

  7. Branjor says:

    What a brazen flaunting of the rules. Leaves my mouth hanging open. When am I going to learn I shouldn’t be surprised, it’s par for the course for them. He should be removed, but he won’t be.

  8. Sima says:

    Can a Supreme Court justice be impeached? Not that our Congress would do that, oh no. But there must be some mechanism to remove them, perhaps in 4 years or so…

    • bostonboomer says:

      Yes, they can be impeached. For years the right wing campaigned to impeach Earl Warren, but it never happened. I think it would take a huge popular movement to get Congress to do it though. I doubt if Obama would support it.

      • Sima says:

        Yea, I’m sure Obama wouldn’t.

        I think most people are like my friends and relatives. I tell them about the latest outrage and they shrug, “All politicians are crooks, what do you expect?” It’s like they’ve lost sight of what our country should and could be.

  9. Seriously says:

    That’s absolutely outrageous. It will never happen, but Obama could actually put his “professor” schtick to good use at the SOTU by drawing attention to Alito’s absence on the grounds that he finds it “too political,” then delineating all of Alito’s grossly politicized misconduct. It would be a slam dunk. Even everybody who got the vapors last year over the so-called “mistreatment” of the poor SCOTUS would be hard pressed to defend Alito then.