January 14th. 2006
Sent to but not published in the Washington Post

Iran's move toward resuming nuclear research is likely to result in a full court hearing at the UN Security Council. Judge Samuel Alito's failure to recuse himself in the Vanguard Mutual Fund Case is getting a free pass.

Yet these cases are identical.

Under the terms of the Non-Proliferation Treaty countries are entitled to undertake non-military nuclear research. Under the conflict of interest laws, Judge Alito had insignificant ownership in the Vanguard Fund Management Company (even though he, like me, had investments in Vanguard Mutual Funds) so was not required to recuse himself.

Nevertheless, Iran had promised France, Germany and the United Kingdom that it would not undertake any nuclear research while negotiations on Iran's Nuclear Program were under way. Similarly, Judge Alito, during his confirmation hearings for an seat on the Appeals Court promised to recuse himself from any cases involving Vanguard. He put no time limits on this promise.

Why are these two identical cases getting such different treatment?