Demand Progress

Samuel Alito is why we need the Supreme Court Ethics Act

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    Samuel Alito is why we need the Supreme Court Ethics Act

    Petition to Congress:
    The news of Samuel Alito’s luxury trips with billionaire and GOP donor Paul Singer is only the latest in this Supreme Court’s ethics scandals. We urge you to pass the Judicial Ethics and Anti-Corruption Act and restore integrity to the Supreme Court.

    BREAKING: Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito accepted luxury trips from Paul Singer – a billionaire and Republican megadonor who has brought business before the Court. Alito failed to disclose the elaborate gifts.1

    The expose on Alito’s corruption comes just a few months after the shocking revelations on Clarence Thomas’ luxury trips with billionaire GOP donor Harlan Crow. In fact, ethics scandals have now rocked EVERY SINGLE ONE of the conservative justices.

    It doesn’t have to be this way. Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Rep. Pramila Jayapal just introduced legislation that would finally impose an ethics code on the Supreme Court, and ban federal judges from owning individual stock. Congress needs to take action and finally hold the Supreme Court accountable.2

    According to an expose in ProPublica, Alito accepted a luxury fishing trip from Paul Singer at a lodge that charged $1,000 per day. Singer also flew Alito out on a private jet that likely cost roughly $100,000. Coordinating the trip was Leonard Leo, the head of the Federalist Society, and the architect of the right-wing judicial takeover.1

    Singer has had business in front of the Supreme Court multiple times. In the most prominent case, Alito ruled with Singer, who was ultimately awarded $2.4 billion. Singer contributed over $80 million to Republican political groups over the last decade. He’s also given millions to the Manhattan Institute, a conservative think tank where he’s served as chairman since 2008. The institute regularly files briefs with the Supreme Court — at least fifteen this term, including one in support of blocking student loan relief.1

    Despite all these obvious conflicts of interest, Alito never noted his gifts from Singer in his financial disclosures, and never recused himself from a case involving Singer. This is an apparent violation of federal law. But unlike nearly every other judge and public official in the United States, Supreme Court justices are not bound by a code of ethics, and are left to police themselves. That’s led to the massive corruption we now see, and record-low public trust in the court.

    Sen. Warren’s and Rep. Jayapal’s Judicial Ethics and Anti-Corruption Act would finally require SCOTUS justices to follow an ethics code, ban all federal judges from owning conflicted assets like stocks and securities, strengthen restrictions on judicial gifts and privately funded travel, overhaul the broken recusal process, and create new mechanisms for judicial accountability. Congress must start restoring faith in our courts and enact this code of conduct NOW.2


    1. ProPublica, “Justice Samuel Alito Took Luxury Fishing Vacation With GOP Billionaire Who Later Had Cases Before the Court,” June 20, 2023.
    2. Elizabeth Warren, “Judicial Ethics and Anti-Corruption Act - One Pager,” June 8, 2023.