Last night, the American Spectator — a right-wing magazine known for its role in the “Arkansas Project,” a well-funded effort to invent stories with the goal of eventually impeaching President Clinton — held its annual gala fundraising event. The Spectator is more than merely an ideological outlet. Spectator publisher Al Regnery helps lead a secretive group of conservatives called the “Conservative Action Project,” formed after President Obama’s election, to help lobby for conservative legislative priorities, elect Republicans (the Conservative Action Project helped campaign against Democrat Bill Owens in NY-23), and block President Obama’s judicial appointments. The Spectator’s gala last night, with ticket prices/sponsorship levels ranging from $250 to $25,000, featured prominent Republicans like RNC chairman Michael Steele, hedge fund billionaire Paul Singer (a major donor to Republican campaign committees and attack ad groups), and U.S. Chamber of Commerce board member and former Allied Capital CEO William Walton. Among the attendees toasting Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN), the keynote speaker for the event, was Supreme Court Justice Sam Alito.
It’s not the first time Alito has attended the Spectator dinner. In 2008, Alito headlined the Spectator’s annual gala, helping to raise tens of thousands of dollars for the political magazine. According to Jay Homnick, a conservative who attended the 2008 Spectator gala, Alito spent much of his speech ripping then Vice President-elect Joe Biden as a serial plagiarizer.
We have had the horrid abuse of the law that resulted in the Citizens United ruling. Now we find a sitting justice helping raise money for a partisan media source. As detailed in the Code of Conduct for United States Judges, where Canon 4 details expectations of judges with other organizations:
Canon 4C. A judge may attend fund-raising events of law-related and other organizations although the judge may not be a speaker, a guest of honor, or featured on the program of such an event.
So a direct violation of Canon 4.
But then Supreme Court Judges are exempt from following the code of conduct required by other judges. They are free to take personal trips with a Vice-President and then refuse to recuse themselves when the Vice-President has a case in front of them. A Vice-President that their own decision made Vice-President. They can help partisan front groups raise money from organizations and people who could have cases in front of the Supreme Court.
I guess this is just further degradation of the Judicial branch of government to follow a similar path seen in the Legislative branch, all while the Executive accretes more power. As the President gets stronger and stronger and stronger and stronger and stronger and stronger and stronger and stronger and stronger the other two branches get weaker and more corrupt.