Philip Green
5 min readMay 24, 2024



The Case of Samuel Alito

According to Wikipedia, “political corruption occurs when an office-holder or other governmental employee acts with an official capacity for personal gain. Corruption is most common in kleptocracies, oligarchies, narco-states, and mafia states…Corruption and crime are endemic sociological occurrences which appear with regular frequency in virtually all countries on a global scale in varying degrees and proportions.”

E.g., “Senate Democrats Open Inquiry Into Trump’s $1 Billion Request of Oil Industry. Two committees are seeking information from oil executives about a dinner where, the lawmakers say, the former president proposed a quid pro quo.”

As always, Trump just does out in the open whatever respectable opinion rejects; but respectable opinion rarely stirs people enough to win elections on its own. I won’t bother to go through a litany, except to note that the U.S. is especially bad in this regard because of eschewing public financing of election campaigns. Don’t ask, don’t tell.

In any event, the key phrase here is “personal gain.” In that sense, taking organized society as a whole, the “dear me” approach to “corruption” is childish: the only real crime of corruption is getting caught. Democrat Robert Menendez took a bribe: in a society in which personal gain is taken for granted as a goal, totally ignoring its possibilities is …heroic.
De Tocqueville put it nicely, looking around at the United States: to paraphrase his argument, in a room full of gold ingots, only the rich can be trusted not to pocket one or two: they already have theirs.

Given this cynical approach to–spelling it out–capitalist morality, what’s the big deal about any particular incidence of it: is, for example, there is any difference between the corruption of Menendez and–to be perfectly clear–Samuel Alito?

Yes, yes, and yes–it’s just about the same as the difference between Bernie Madoff and a taxi driver who fiddles with the fare box.

“The New York Times reported that the home of Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito displayed a symbol that shows solidarity with the effort to overturn the 2020 election … while he was hearing a case about that effort. As The Nation put it, “The upside-down flag — a “stop the steal” image — is just the latest evidence that the partisan Republicans on the court cannot impartially hear or rule on cases related to the efforts to overturn the election, the January 6 insurrection, or Trump’s claims of immunity.” In Elie Mystal’s phrase, what they really are us an arm of the Republican Party pretending-–in between instances of their major effort-–to be judges of principle.

To be fair, Alito says “my wife did it.” So I’ll be fair: he’s not just a loathsome man who quotes misogynistic texts and behavior though it were a a history lesson; his very soul is corrupt, well beyond the the ordinary behavior of trying to make an extra buck in an institutional arena that rewards cheating.. “My wife did it.” Everyone knows it was their dog.

And then–how on earth can we believe this? — . “Another Provocative Flag Was Flown at Another Alito Home.” That is, “The justice’s beach house displayed an “Appeal to Heaven” flag, a symbol carried on Jan. 6 and associated with a push for a more Christian-minded government.” Sort of like the Hammer and Sickle on the Bolshevik flag was” associated” with a push for a more Socialist government–by way of sacking the Duma. The boys of Enron must wish they’d had him for a lawyer.

All this, of course, while the Justice was sitting on cases pertaining to guilt and innocence in the January6th insurrection. It’s hard in fact to say who’s more corrupt, Alito or his good buddy Judge Clarence Thomas, who never discusses politics with his treasonous wife: the woman who pressed the steal case in Arizona and Georgia, making all those phone calls and sending all those emails without her husband knowing about it. This is all, somehow, one of those cases where the cover-up is worse–so much worse, because so swamp-embedded — –than the actual event.

As for the Justice Alito, to return to the morass of his fevered brain. “In June, he defended his decision to accompany a conservative billionaire on a luxury fishing vacation. That billionaire later had cases before the Supreme Court. In September, Justice Alito rejected demands for recusal in a major tax case after he gave interviews to one of the lawyers involved, David Rivkin, for the Wall Street Journal’s editorial page.”

Actually, here the cover-up is not worse than the deed, which proceeded as though some significant person had been asked to give an example of absolute corruption, who then proceeded to laugh loudly and reply, “let me tell you this one.”

And oh yes, during the right-wing (that is Fascist) boycott of Bud-Light for hiring a trans-gender person as an “influencer.” Alito sold his Bud-Light stock, claims it was an economic decision, and soon after bought the same amount of Coors, the right-wing beer maker. (I have no knowledge of the beer itself, and don’t mean to question its value, political or whatever.)

And this just in from the Supreme Republicans: A gerrymandering decision, about which Richard L. Hasen, a law professor at the University of California, Los Angeles, noted that “Justice Alito for a court majority has once again come up with a legal framework that makes it easier for Republican states to engage in redistricting to help white Republicans maximize their political power.” Shit never stops falling. And this is the real corruption, after all: to sell out not your vote, but political equality and democratic institutions

And yet: nothing ventured, nothing lost. Nikki Haley has announced that she will vote for Trump: the candidate who publicly made fun of her militarily deployed husband. Here perhaps we can return to the beginning, and find it unsatisfactory. Nothing is needed for corruption to take place but a power-holder and a supplicant.

Or a needy person and a soul-less piece of …never mind. I once had an argument about abortion rights with a friend who called himself an “anarchist.” At one point, finally, I said to him, “E, do you think a woman who has an abortion should be punished?”

“Of course not,” he replied.

“Then what are we arguing about?,” I expostulated.

I don’t know where he is, or what he’s doing, but we were both missing the point; I’d like to think he knows that if he’d still around. (He was a good Catholic.) The often even deadly punishment of women in human need is a corruption that...well, you have to go back to slavery in American history to find its equal. And let’s not ask Samuel Alito about political equality. Or the Republican Party…As for Robert Menendez, he’s likely to be replaced by the New Jersey Governor’s wife–who whatever else will be a safe vote against Fascism, posing as Populism: the 21st Century’s worst corruption.

How has that impersonation come to take place? At least part of the answer is simple: just ask the Supreme Court. There you will find, on good authority, five wretched persons who will impose any cruelty on the objects of their contempt and disdain.