The wife of Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito leased land to a fossil fuel company for oil and gas exploration around the same time the firm stood to benefit from a major environmental case before the Supreme Court. The Intercept reports Justice Alito did not recuse himself from the case, even though his family stood to profit from its outcome. Alito ended up writing the 5-4 majority opinion in Sackett v. Environmental Protection Agency, which gutted protections for U.S. wetlands under the Clean Water Act. At the time, Martha Ann Bomgardner Alito had an agreement with the firm Citizen Energy III to earn revenue from any oil and gas produced on her land in Oklahoma, which she inherited from her late father.
This follows a bombshell report in ProPublica that found Justice Alito took an undisclosed luxury fishing vacation with Republican megadonor Paul Singer in 2008 and then later ruled in Singer’s favor in several cases. Singer is a major donor to the Manhattan Institute, a Republican think tank that supports blocking student debt relief. Members of the Debt Collective had demanded Alito recuse himself from today’s Supreme Court’s ruling on President Biden’s plan to give 40 million student borrowers up to $20,000 each in debt relief. We’ll have more on student debt and the Supreme Court later in the broadcast.