Justice Alito Reportedly Took $100K Private Jet Flight, Drank Wine That Cost $1K Per Bottle

The ProPublica story Samuel Alito attempted to prebut with a WSJ op-ed is out, and it's as delicious as the Kobe beef that GOP megadonors served him.

Justice Alito Reportedly Took $100K Private Jet Flight, Drank Wine That Cost $1K Per Bottle
Associate Justice Samuel Alito Jr. during the formal group photograph at the Supreme Court in Washington, DC, US, on Friday, Oct. 7, 2022. Photo:Getty (Getty Images)

On Tuesday evening, the Wall Street Journal published an absurd op-ed by Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito letting the world know that reporters were looking into his connections to a billionaire, which he thinks is all very unfair. ProPublica then published its story shortly before midnight—which many more people are now inclined to read than they were before Alito published his preemptive screed—and wouldn’t you know, it’s quite damning.

The reporting outlines how Alito took a luxury fishing trip to Alaska in July 2008 with a billionaire hedge fund manager and Republican megadonor who, in the coming years, would have business before the Supreme Court. Alito didn’t recuse himself from those cases or even report the trip on his required disclosure forms—an apparent violation of federal laws passed in the wake of the Watergate scandal. The billionaire in question, Paul Singer, has donated more than $80 million to Republican political groups and serves as the chair of the Manhattan Institute, a conservative think tank that frequently files Supreme Court amicus briefs.

Singer flew Alito and others, including federal Judge Raymond Randolph, to Alaska on his private jet. ProPublica estimates that the flight would have cost $100,000 if Alito had chartered it himself. The group stayed for free at the luxury King Salmon Lodge, owned by a different conservative donor, Robin Arkley II. (In 2005, Arkley flew Justice Antonin Scalia to another Alaskan lodge on a private jet and paid for his stay; Scalia had a martini made with Grey Goose and ice from the Hubbard Glacier. Scalia died in 2016 during a stay at a different businessman’s Texas hunting ranch.) The guests ate multicourse meals that included Kobe beef and Alaskan king crab legs and, on the final night, “a member of Alito’s group bragged that the wine they were drinking cost $1,000 a bottle,” per one of the lodge’s fishing guides.

And just like Justice Clarence Thomas’ luxury lodge stays, there’s a Leonard Leo connection. Leo is the co-chairman of the conservative judicial group, the Federalist Society. Not only did Donald Trump choose all three of his Supreme Court nominees from a FedSoc list drawn up by Leo himself, but Leo helped Alito get confirmed in 2006. Just two years later, Leo helped organize the fishing trip, invited Singer, and reportedly asked the billionaire if he and Alito could travel on his jet. (Both Singer and the lodge owner were major donors to Leo’s various political groups.)

Here’s what ProPublica said about Singer’s cases before the court and Alito’s failure to recuse:

In the years that followed, Singer’s hedge fund came before the court at least 10 times in cases where his role was often covered by the legal press and mainstream media. In 2014, the court agreed to resolve a key issue in a decade-long battle between Singer’s hedge fund and the nation of Argentina. Alito did not recuse himself from the case and voted with the 7-1 majority in Singer’s favor. The hedge fund was ultimately paid $2.4 billion.

The Supreme Court’s head spokeswoman told ProPublica on Tuesday that Alito wouldn’t be commenting on the story, only for the WSJ to publish his ridiculous op-ed hours later.

In Alito’s op-ed, he claimed this was all fine because he didn’t actually know Singer was connected to the cases, and he understood the disclosure laws to exempt transportation and lodging. Plus, the the private jet was already flying to Alaska and had an open seat, so it’s not like he cost Singer any extra. Alito had the gall to write that if he’d flown commercial, it “would have imposed a substantial cost and inconvenience on the deputy U.S. Marshals who would have been required for security reasons to assist me.” Lol, lmao. As for the food and drink: “As I recall, the meals were homestyle fare. I cannot recall whether the group at the lodge, about 20 people, was served wine, but if there was wine it was certainly not wine that costs $1,000.” The public servant knows what expensive wine tastes like, OK?

Interestingly, Alito doesn’t mention Leonard Leo at all in that op-ed!

Here’s what Alito said about possible recusals during his Senate confirmation hearings: “My personal practice is to recuse myself when and possible question might arise.” Huh!

A few weeks ago, Alito gave an interview to the WSJ opinion pages decrying criticism of the court. “We are being hammered daily, and I think quite unfairly in a lot of instances. And nobody, practically nobody, is defending us,” he said. No, Sam, you deserve all the smoke you’re getting.

Leo had this to say, in part, per a statement to ProPublica (in which he styled the outlet’s name incorrectly):

We all should wonder whether this recent rash of Pro Publica stories questioning the integrity of only conservative Supreme Court Justices is bait for reeling in more dark money from woke billionaires who want to damage this Supreme Court and remake it into one that will disregard the law by rubber stamping their disordered and highly unpopular cultural preferences.

Since many conservative accusations are confessions, I’ll note that Leo is also working on a project to impose conservative values across American culture, which would be extremely unpopular. It’s called the Teneo Network, and it was covered by…ProPublica.

Stay mad, boys.

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