Demand Progress

Samuel Alito’s fossil fuel connections make it clear - we need a Supreme Court Ethics Act!

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    Samuel Alito’s fossil fuel connections make it clear - we need a Supreme Court Ethics Act!

    Petition to Congress:
    Justice Samuel Alito repeatedly failed to recuse himself on cases where he had a clear financial conflcit of interest. It's clear that the Supreme Court cannot police itself, and that Congress must pass the Judicial Ethics and Anti-Corruption Act.

    A shocking new report revealed that while Justice Alito was voting to gut environmental protections, his wife was cutting real estate deals with the fossil fuel industry.1

    Despite this substantial conflict of interest, Alito has not recused himself in cases involving the fossil fuel industry. He ruled last year to gut the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) ability to regulate fossil fuel emissions, and has repeatedly ruled in favor of the unfettered development of oil and gas pipelines.1

    The Supreme Court has no binding code of ethics, so there is nothing forcing Alito to recuse himself in these cases, or requiring him to report his wife’s real estate deal. This outrageous corruption cannot continue.Congress must hold the Supreme Court accountable.2

    Last year, Martha Ann Bomgardner Alito, Justice Alito’s wife, leased an inherited 160-acre plot in Oklahoma to a fossil fuel company, Citizen Energy III. The lease stipulates that the Alitos will receive a sizable share of all profits made from the land’s oil and gas sales.1

    Justice Alito has routinely ruled with SCOTUS’s conservative Justices in favor of the fossil fuel industry. This May, he wrote the majority opinion in Sackett v. EPA, which substantially scaled back the Clean Water Act. Last year, in Clean Air Act in West Virginia v. EPA, Alito ruled to gut the EPA’s ability to regulate greenhouse gas emissions. In 2021’s Oneok, Inc. v. Learjet, Inc., Alito ruled to block antitrust laws from being applied to natural gas companies. Oneok, the largest supplier of natural gas in Oklahoma, runs a natural gas pipeline through the Alitos’ land.1

    Alito even outright denies the reality of climate change. In an address to the Claremont Institute, a far right think-tank, he stated, “Carbon dioxide is not a pollutant. Carbon dioxide is not harmful to ordinary things, to human beings, or to animals, or to plants.”1

    Alito’s connections to the fossil field industry were revealed just days after ProPublica’s bombshell report on the luxury trips the Justice accepted from billionaire and Republican megadonor Paul Singer. Alito did not disclose those trips, and has failed to recuse himself when Singer had business in front of the court. It’s clear that the Supreme Court cannot be trusted to police itself. Congress needs to step in and impose a binding code of conduct on this out-of-control Court.3


    1. The Intercept, “Alito's Wife Leased Land to an Oil and Gas Firm While Justice Fought EPA,” June 26, 2023.
    2. Elizabeth Warren, “Judicial Ethics and Anti-Corruption Act - One Pager,” June 8, 2023.
    3. ProPublica, “Justice Samuel Alito Took Luxury Fishing Vacation With GOP Billionaire Who Later Had Cases Before the Court,” June 20, 2023.