Independent Christian Voice

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Alito broke promise to Senate; questions persist about conflicts of interest

From The Boston Globe:
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.

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.

The news of the case, which had not been reported previously, comes one day after two Democratic senators said they wanted more answers to conflict-of-interests questions about Alito's involvement in cases regarding Vanguard and Smith Barney -- investment firms Alito had accounts with. […]

In his questionnaire, provided to the Senate during his confirmation hearings as an appeals court judge, Samuel Alito cited four types of cases in which he would disqualify himself to avoid a potential conflict of interest: those involving Vanguard, in which he owned mutual fund shares; Smith Barney, his brokerage firm; First Federal Savings & Loan of Rochester, N.Y., which held his home mortgage; and his sister's law firm.

Alito ruled in a 2002 case in Vanguard's favor at a time when he owned between $390,000 and $975,000 in mutual fund shares from Vanguard.

He withdrew from the case after a complaint was filed by Shantee Maharaj, a Massachusetts woman who wanted Vanguard to give her the assets of her late husband's mutual funds.

Conflicts of interest? That doesn't seem to be a disqualifier for this administration for a lot of people, from the vice president on down.

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