WASHINGTON, DC – Today, new reporting from Politico’s Heidi Przybyla revealed that just days after his confirmation to the Supreme Court, Justice Neil Gorsuch sold a $1.8 million mountain getaway to the CEO of major law firm Greenberg Traurig — which has since been active in at least 22 cases sent to the high court.
This is exactly the type of situation that an ethics code that included vetting of transactions and full disclosure would clear up. Without decisive action, the conservatives on the Supreme Court will forever tarnish its reputation in our public life.”
Accountable.US president Kyle Herrig.
“Supreme Court rules do not prevent justices from engaging in financial transactions with people with interest in court decisions, but Gorsuch’s dealings with [Greenberg Traurig CEO Brian] Duffy expose the weakness of the court’s disclosure procedures. For instance, in reporting his Colorado income, Gorsuch listed as his source only the name that he and his two co-owners gave themselves, Walden Group, LLC. The report didn’t indicate that there had been a real estate sale or a purchaser.
Such a sale would raise ethical problems for officials serving in many other branches of government, but the Supreme Court sets its own rules. It has largely left justices to make their own decisions about when and how to report outside gifts and income.”
“The real estate transaction is another example of how the lack of a firm code of ethics for the court stands in contrast to most other branches of the U.S. government, including the White House and Congress as well as lower court judges.
The code of conduct for lower court U.S. judges says judges should “avoid impropriety and the appearance of impropriety in all activities,” and “discourages frequent transactions or continuing business relationships with lawyers or other persons likely to come before the court” on which the judge serves. Unlike many of the country’s state and federal courts, the Supreme Court lacks a code of conduct.”
The finding comes on the heels of bombshell news revealing that Justice Clarence Thomas failed to disclose his decades-long financial relationship with billionaire Republican donor Harlan Crow over decades. Accountable.US has called for immediate accountability for all involved in this highly problematic financial relationship.