Friday, November 04, 2005

Scalito And The Vanguard Conflict


I've been hesitant to chime in regarding Samuel Alito's nomination because I would rather wait for more information to come in. Well, I didn't have to wait long.

The Boston Globe online has reported a very troubling conflict of interest case involving Vanguard mutual funds that Scalito presided over.

The short story is that Mr. Alito ruled in favor of Vanguard in a case where a widow tried for a decade to collect the money invested in Vanguard mutual funds that were in her deceased husband's IRA. The problem is that Mr. Alito had previously agreed to recuse himself from any cases involving Vanguard. Why would he recuse himself? Because he apparently held $390,000 worth of Vanguard mutual funds during the ruling.

Now, the issue that we should be concerned about here is a matter of Scalito's word. In this case, Scalito has clearly vilolated a previous agreement to recuse himself from cases involving Vanguard, yet he participated and precided over the case and then challenged his previous agreement.

This is an absolutely critical justice position, one that will surely tip the balance of the Supreme Court. If I were on the Senate Judiciary Panel, I would hammer him on this issue and likely vote against him.