Here's a question for Senators: If a nominee for Supreme Court already has a history of telling the US Senate one thing to get confirmed, then doing the exact opposite, when can you trust him?
When Alito became a federal appeals court judge in 1990, he promised to recuse himself from cases involving Vanguard mutual funds, because he had personal investments through the company. Yet he participated in a case decided in 2002 involving Vanguard.How can this issue not emerge during the confirmation proceedings? What's most troubling, is that after Alito was pulled off the Vanguard case -- despite telling the Senate he would recuse himself -- he complained about it, according to the Boston Globe:
Several Democrats have said they are troubled by this, though it is not clear whether it will emerge as a major issue in Alito's confirmation process.
After Alito ruled in Vanguard's favor in the Maharaj case, he complained about her efforts to vacate his decision and remove him from the case, writing to the chief administrative judge of the federal appeals court on which he sat in 2003: ''I do not believe that I am required to disqualify myself based on my ownership of the mutual fund shares."He told the Senate he would recuse himself, then he complains about it after he's busted?
This was not a small matter. What's worse, it looks like a pattern. Today, the Boston Globe, which has done great work investigating these discrepancies, reports on another situation where Alito said one thing to the Senate and did another:
Judge Samuel A. Alito Jr., who said in 1990 that he would disqualify himself from cases involving his sister's law firm, was a member of an appeals court that reviewed a 1995 case in which his sister's firm represented one of the parties, according to court records.This is a very troubling pattern. It begs the question of how much Senators can trust what Alito tells them. Does Alito think that what he says to get confirmed doesn't matter once he's on the bench?
It is at least the third instance in which there is no indication the Supreme Court nominee recused himself from the kind of case he had promised a Senate committee he would avoid as a federal judge.
According to Reuters, Alito is spending a lot of time on the Hill telling Senators about "his respect for precedent" which is taken to mean he won't rush to overturn established cases like Roe v. Wade. Can those words be trusted? It is a big risk to confirm a justice who already has a history of not following through on promises made to the Senate.