Alito: $500K Investment Isn’t A Conflict Of Interest

Supreme Court nominee Samuel J. Alito and Justice Antonin Scalia share more than just ideology; they also share a resistance to removing themselves from cases where they have a conflict of interest.

In 2002, Alito dismissed a case in favor of a company where he was heavily invested [Philadelphia Inquirer, 12/15/03]:

Judge Samuel A. Alito Jr., a member of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, has been accused of a conflict of interest by a woman whose suit he and two other appeals judges dismissed…. According to Alito’s 2002 financial-disclosure statement, the judge held investments worth $390,000 to $930,000 in 11 Vanguard funds in July 2002, when he ruled on a lawsuit filed by Shantee Maharaj of Wayne against Vanguard.

Alito argued that he didn’t need to recuse himself because the case was so small that it wouldn’t even affect Vanguard:


They have $600 billion invested with them. The idea that a case like this would affect [their investments] is just ludicrous.

Despite his own arguments, Alito eventually recused himself but continued to insist he had done nothing wrong.