Justice Alito rejects recusal in major tax case

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Justice Samuel Alito

Supreme court justice Samuel Alito has said he won’t recuse himself from an important tax case. In his letter, Durbin said that Alito should be recused because he had recently conducted two interviews with David Rivkin, a lawyer and opinion columnist for the Wall Street Journal

, who is one of the lawyers in the tax dispute that will likely be argued before the court in December. Durbin’s letter said that Alito should be recused because the justice had recently done two interviews with David Rivkin, a lawyer and opinion columnist with the Wall Street Journal

, who is one of the lawyers in the tax case that is to be argued before the court, likely in December.

Alito, in a four page statement, rejected that argument as “unsound,” noting that justices over the years have often given interviews to news organization, including NPR, even though some of those organizations have had cases before the court. He also noted that justices don’t recuse themselves when former law clerks, friends, or former colleagues are involved. He also noted that the court accepts briefs submitted by members of Congress, regardless of whether they voted in favor or against a nominee. He wrote that if we recused ourselves in these cases, the work of our court would be significantly disrupted. Stephen Gillers is a legal ethics expert who has recently been critical of Alito, and some other Justices, for accepting luxury trips and other undeclared gifts. Gillers, an NYU professor, believes Alito is correct this time. He also notes that Rivkin is not the main lawyer in the tax case, nor is he arguing it before the court. Still, Sen. Durbin pushed back. In a statement, he stated that Alito “surprises nobody by sitting on a matter involving a lawyer honored with a puff article in the Wall Street Journal