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Courting Trouble: Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito Secretly Accepted Luxury Trip From Billionaire, Report Claims

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Jun. 21 2023, Published 11:36 a.m. ET

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Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito is under the gun after a shocking report claimed he went on a luxurious fishing vacation funded by a hedge fund billionaire with big-buck cases before the highest court in the land, has learned.

The bombshell revelation comes weeks after another conservative judge, Justice Clarence Thomas neglected to report several lavish vacations paid for by Texas billionaire and Republican donor Harlan Crow, who also had at least one business-related case before the U.S. Supreme Court.

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Oddly, just hours before the investigative report by ProPublica was published, Alito posted an op-ed piece in the Wall Street Journal vigorously defending himself and calling the damning story “misleading.”

The investigative report alleges Alito took a private jet to Alaska and stayed in a swanky $ 1,000-a-night lodge courtesy of hedge fund founder Paul Singer. The report also published a photograph of Alito, Singer and an unidentified guest gleefully showing three-king salmon caught during the 2008 trip.

The stunning report also revealed Singer’s hedge fund had gone before the Supreme Court 10 times to argue cases – and Alito did not recuse himself for the proceedings – including a 2014 case involving $2.4 billion.

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“I had no obligation to recuse in any of the cases that ProPublica cites,” Alito wrote in the WSJ opinion piece. “First, even if I had been aware of Mr. Singer’s connection to the entities involved in those cases, recusal would not have been required or appropriate. ProPublica suggests that my failure to recuse in these cases created an appearance of impropriety, but that is incorrect.”

Alito, 73, also claimed that he stayed in a “modest one-room unit” and that he was invited to fly on a vacant seat in the private jet that “would have otherwise been vacant.”

“It was my understanding that this would not impose any extra cost on Mr. Singer,” he added. “Had I taken commercial flights, that would have imposed a substantial cost and inconvenience on the deputy U.S. Marshals who would have been required for security reasons to assist me.”

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He also claimed that his interpretation of the financial disclosure rules did not require him to reveal “accommodations and transportation for social events were not reportable gifts.”

As previously reported, Justice Thomas also shut down claims he abused his powers by failing to report his all-expense pad trips because his longtime friend, Crow, did not have business before the U.S. Supreme Court.

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But that excuse was refuted by a report in Bloomberg detailing a 2005 case that the court declined to hear involving an appeal from an architecture firm that Crow's family had a non-controlling interest in.

What’s more, Crow also helped Thomas with a real estate deal involving a relative and paid for the private school tuition for a grandnephew – gifts that were not reported in disclosure forms.

Both scandals have prompted Democratic lawmakers to launch investigations and call for ethics reforms to rein in contributions and gifts to the justices.



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