Supreme Court signals skepticism of ‘Bridgegate’ scandal narrative

The 2013 scandal that derailed the presidential aspirations of former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) is being looked at a little funny by the Supreme Court.

With the “Bridgegate” corruption case now before the Supreme Court, the justices seem to have voiced more than a bit of skepticism that the incident was as much of a scandal it was made out to be, the Daily Caller reports.

The scandal

Amid a battle of political enemies, traffic on a New Jersey bridge was allegedly reallocated to hurt one of Christie’s rivals.

The parties reportedly responsible for the scandal were Bill Baroni and Bridget Kelly. Baroni was a Christie appointee for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, while Kelly was Christie’s deputy chief of staff when he was residing in the governor’s mansion.

When Fort Lee Mayor Mark Sokolich refused to endorse the campaign of Christie, Kelly ordered Baroni to reallocate the traffic lanes of the bridge to ensure there would be gridlock for Fort Lee.

When the dust settled, the Port Authority had to pay $3,700 in additional wages due to the traffic, and there was a reported $1,900 in additional wages for engineers conducting a traffic study.

Kelly and Baroni were eventually convicted in federal court for defrauding a federally funded entity, wire fraud, and conspiracy.

Kelly and Baroni appealed their convictions, which carried 13- and 18-month prison sentences, respectively. The case has now come before the Supreme Court, where the justices are expected to deliver a ruling by June on whether the convictions will stand.

Supreme court skepticism

The sentiment on the Supreme Court was one that made this sound as though hard politicking was made out to be criminal in nature. The Justice Department argued that the reallocation of lanes was, in essence, the seizing of property, but the high court seems to be skeptical of this claim.

Justice Elena Kagan stated: “It’s not appropriating the George Washington Bridge. It’s reallocating lanes on the George Washington Bridge, and I would have thought that…that’s not an appropriation of property.”

Chief Justice Justice John Roberts added: “Altering the traffic lane configuration was just the incidental means of achieving the objective.”

Based on those comments, it is hard to imagine this panel will allow these convictions to hold up. But only time will tell what the final ruling will be.

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