Justices Thomas and Alito: A Study of Contrasting Styles of Advocacy
When Justice Clarence Thomas was confronted with failing to report a luxury vacation funded by a billionaire, including travel on a private jet, he argued that he and the billionaire were longtime close friends. His point seems to have been that if the billionaire had only been a casual acquaintance, one might wonder why he had been so generous, but close friends are often generous in entertaining each other, so it was all right.
When Justice Samuel Alito was confronted with failing to report a luxury vacation funded by a billionaire, including travel on a private jet, he argued that the billionaire was only a casual acquaintance. His point seems to have been that if he and the billionaire had close connections, one might wonder why the billionaire had been so lavish. But the billionaire and Alito only talked “fleetingly,” so it was all right. Lest that argument fail to erase any doubt as to the propriety of Alito’s accepting the billionaire’s hospitality, Alito pointed out that the lodge where he stayed was “rustic,” that the unit where he occupied was “modest,” that the meals he ate were “home-style,” and that if wine was served (and he wasn’t saying that it was!), a bottle of it would have cost less than $1,000.