Headline RoundupJune 21st, 2023

Justice Alito Responds to ProPublica Inquiry With Wall Street Journal Op-ed

Summary from the AllSides News Team

Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito responded to a ProPublica (Lean Left bias) inquiry about possible ethics violations by writing a Wall Street Journal (Lean Right) op-ed refuting the claims.

What ProPublica Said: In a story published after Alito's op-ed, ProPublica said he appeared to violate "a federal law that requires justices to disclose most gifts" by not reporting a 2008 trip with billionaire Paul Singer, who had a case before the court. "Alito did not recuse himself and voted with the 7-1 majority in Singer’s favor," the outlet stated. ProPublica also said it sent Alito questions last week, but "the Supreme Court’s head spokeswoman told ProPublica that Alito would not be commenting."

What Alito Said: Responding to questions about the lack of recusal and disclosure, Alito said "neither charge is valid" and that ProPublica "misleads its readers." He denied knowledge of Singer's connections to the case, and said "recusal would not have been required or appropriate" had he known. He also said it was commonly understood under financial disclosure rules at the time that "accommodations and transportation for social events were not reportable gifts." 

How the Media Covered it: Many left-rated sources, and some on the right, framed the news as another ethical controversy for a conservative justice following ProPublica's reporting on Clarence Thomas earlier this year. Washington Times (Lean Right) said Alito "beat ProPublica to the punch." An MSNBC (Left) writer said Alito's defense "fell far short" and "is emblematic of his larger problems."

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