Judge Samuel A. Alito, President Bush's nominee for the Supreme Court, responded to criticisms that he should have recused himself from cases involving Vanguard and Smith Barney, saying he had no financial interest in the two companies, The New York Times reports. He said that they simply managed some of his investments.
Alito also said that he may have been "unduly restrictive" when he pledged to the Senate in 1990 that he would never preside over cases involving the two companies and that he would "never knowingly hear a case where a conflict of interest existed."
Democrats Edward M. Kennedy of Massachusetts and Patrick J. Leahy of Vermont, have each raised questions about whether Alito should have stepped aside from the two cases. In response to Alito's most recent defense, Kennedy said he was not satisfied with his explanation, while Leahy said he had yet to review it.