Supreme Court Justice Jackson Targeted in New Ethics Complaint

Jack Phillips
By Jack Phillips
December 20, 2023Supreme Court
Supreme Court Justice Jackson Targeted in New Ethics Complaint
Justices of the Supreme Court pose for their official photo at the Supreme Court in Washington, on Oct. 7, 2022. (Front L–R) Associate Justice Sonia Sotomayor, Associate Justice Clarence Thomas, Chief Justice John Roberts, Associate Justice Samuel Alito and Associate Justice Elena Kagan, (Standing behind from left) Associate Justice Amy Coney Barrett, Associate Justice Neil Gorsuch, Associate Justice Brett Kavanaugh, and Associate Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson. (Olivier Douliery/AFP via Getty Images)

Supreme Court Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson was accused in an ethics complaint on Tuesday of “repeatedly” failing to disclose that her husband received income from medical consulting fees.

The conservative-leaning Center for Renewing America, led by former Trump administration official Russ Vought, sent a complaint to the Judicial Conference, stating that the justice didn’t report some of her husband’s income for at least a decade. It called on the conference to refer the complaint to Attorney General Merrick Garland to launch an ethics investigation.

The letter said that judges are legally mandated to disclose the source of “earned income earned by a spouse from any person which exceed $1,000,” adding that if the spouse “is self-employed in business or a profession, only the nature of such business or profession needs be reported.”

Before she was nominated to the U.S. Supreme Court, part of her nomination to a district court included the disclosure of two legal medical malpractice consulting clients who had paid her husband at least $1,000 in 2011. But it added that Justice Jackson, a Biden appointee, “repeatedly failed to disclose that her husband received income from medical malpractice consulting fees” in other filings.

“We know this by Justice Jackson’s own admission in her amended disclosure form for 2020, filed when she was nominated to the Supreme Court, that ‘some of my previously filed reports inadvertently omitted’ her husband’s income from ‘consulting on medical malpractice cases,’” the letter added.

Mr. Vought, the former Trump official, added in the letter that the justice hasn’t “even attempted to list the years for which her previously filed disclosures omitted her husband’s consulting income,” while later adding that in her 2020 disclosure form, she “provided only the vague statement that ‘some’ of those past disclosures contained material omissions.”

“It is also troubling that Justice Jackson disclosed two sources of her husband’s medical malpractice consulting work in 2011 and then never disclosed another source despite his having received such income in subsequent years,” Mr. Vought said. “Justice Jackson now apparently seeks to describe her husband’s consulting work under the ‘self-employment’ exception in order to avoid disclosing the sources of her husband’s consulting income,” he added.

The justice’s alleged “willful refusal to disclose her husband’s medical malpractice consulting income on several reports undermine the text and fundamental purpose of the ethics laws and calls into doubt her ability to discharge her duties impartially,” wrote. Mr Vought, who had headed the Office of Management and Budget under President Donald Trump.

The letter also stated there may be reason to suspect that Justice Jackson might have not reported funding sources for her “massive investiture celebration at the Library of Congress,” referring to the federal library’s large event in 2022 in her honor. It featured multiple musicians and other groups, according to reports.

Federal law requires judicial officers to disclose gifts that cost more than $415.11, the Center for Renewing America letter said. Her event at the Library of Congress “easily cost tens of thousands of dollars” or more, the letter added, saying that she needs to provide the identity of the sources under the law.

The justice also allegedly “demonstrated awareness of this same disclosure requirement when she reported other post-investiture gifts such as a $1,200 floral display,” the letter stated. “She demonstrated knowledge of this requirement when she disclosed the receipt of $6,580 in designer clothes from Vogue Magazine for a photo shoot.”

The Epoch Times contacted several public information officers for the U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday. The Supreme Court and Justice Jackson have not issued public comments on the matter.

In recent months, the ethics of U.S. Supreme Court justices have come under fire after reports from a left-wing publication revealed that Bush-appointed Justice Clarence Thomas received gifts from a billionaire businessman. Justice Thomas and the billionaire, Harlan Crow, have denied there was anything improper.

Meanwhile, Justice Sonia Sotomayor, an Obama appointee, was targeted in an Associated Press report in June that accused her and her staff of prodding public institutions that have hosted the justice to purchase her memoir or her children’s books. She has earned at least $3.7 million since joining the top court in 2009, it noted.

NTD Photo
Associate Justice Clarence Thomas poses for the official group photo at the U.S. Supreme Court in the District of Columbia on Nov. 30, 2018. (Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images)

The Supreme Court pushed back on the AP report, saying it works with the justices and their staff to make sure they are complying with ethics guidelines.

“When (Sotomayor) is invited to participate in a book program, Chambers staff recommends the number of books (for an organization to order) based on the size of the audience so as not to disappoint attendees who may anticipate books being available at an event,” the court said at the time.

Months later, in mid-November, the Supreme Court announced that it had adopted a code of ethics that included five canons on the justices’ conduct on a range of issues such as when they should recuse themselves in cases.

“The undersigned justices are promulgating this Code of Conduct to set out succinctly and gather in one place the ethics rules and principles that guide the conduct of the Members of the Court,” the justices said in a statement, which was signed by them.

From The Epoch Times

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