Alito Sold Oracle Stock to Take Part in Supreme Court Google Case

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Justice Samuel Alito or his wife sold at least $15,000 in Oracle Corp. stock last year in a move that let him take part in the U.S. Supreme Court’s review of the company’s multibillion-dollar copyright case with Alphabet Inc.’s Google, according to his newly released financial disclosure report.

The Alitos earned between $2,500 and $5,000 when they sold the shares on Jan. 4, 2019, about three weeks before Google filed its appeal at the Supreme Court. The stock could have been worth as much as $50,000, accord to his report.

Federal law bars justices from taking part in cases in which they have a direct financial stake.

Alito, Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Stephen Breyer or their family members all own individual stocks that, at times, have forced them to recuse from cases or make a quick sale so they could take part. All three have overlooked conflicts on occasion.

The Supreme Court heard arguments Oct. 7 in the Google-Oracle case, which was delayed by the Covid-19 pandemic. Google is seeking to overturn a ruling that it improperly used Oracle’s copyrighted code in the Android operating system. A ruling is likely by late June.

Separately, Justice Neil Gorsuch reported receiving $325,000 in royalties from Penguin Random House LLC, which published his book, “A Republic, If You Can Keep It.” Gorsuch also received $5,000 for an audio book recording.

Alito and Gorsuch both received extensions of time to file their reports, which cover the 2019 calendar year. Reports for the other justices were released in June.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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