Friday, November 12, 2010

Alito: the conduct code doesn't apply to him

THE STIR CAUSED BY Justice Samuel Alito's presence at right-wing fund-raisers not only raises questions about his own ideological neutrality on the bench but also whether he is arrogantly defying court rules that bar such action. Alito turned up at a fund-raiser for American Spectator, one of the prominent voices of the American Right, to fill out the crowd that included the loony Rep. Michele Bachmann and GOP National Chairman Michael Steele. (Yep, he hasn't gone away!) When a reporter from Think Progress asked him what he was doing at a political fund-raiser, Alito dismissed the question with "It's not important that I'm here" and walked away. That brief encounter with the media defined hubris.

It's not the first time that he has been spotted hanging out at conservative fund-raisers. Last year he attended an event by the Intercollegiate Studies Institute, whose preferred candidate was Christine 'O'Donnell, the big Tea Party loser in Delaware. Web reports allege that he helped raised $70,000 for the Institute.

In case you need further witness to the rule that bars federal judges from poitical events, here it is from RAW STORY's website:
According to the Code of Conduct for United States Judges, a justice should not "solicit 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."
Back in 2006, after Alito had been nominated by George W. Bush to succeed Sandra Day O'Connor on the bench, Alito was more humble in the face of his big promotion. He told a student assembly at Franklin & Marshall College that a judge is guided by law and must forever be aware of it in his or her decisions.

"I have continued to learn from various colleagues that you have to have an open mind to wisdom whenever it presents itself, he said. Assuming that he has read the code, his wisdom enables him to say "it's not important."

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