Key conservative law school sought influence after providing cushy pay, perks

WASHINGTON, DC – This weekend, new reporting revealed that, over years, Scalia Law School has cultivated cozy relationships with conservative Supreme Court Justices through generous pay and unusual perks. In return, it got prestige, donations, and influence at the highest levels.

Given the recent string of serious Supreme Court scandals, it’s no surprise that Scalia Law has spent years wooing conservative Justices with cushy pay and perks in an attempt to secure influence at the highest levels. It’s even less of a surprise that Leonard Leo is involved in the shady strategy — but that doesn’t make it any less troubling. Our nation’s highest court shouldn’t have the lowest ethical standards. We need reform now to restore credibility and integrity to the Court.”

Accountable.US president Kyle Herrig.

New York Times highlights:

“The law school had long stood out for its rightward leanings and ties to conservative benefactors. Its renaming after Justice Scalia in 2016 was the result of a $30 million gift brokered by Leonard Leo, prime architect of a grand project then gathering force to transform the federal judiciary and further the legal imperatives of the right. An ascendant law school at George Mason would be part of that plan.

Since the rebranding, the law school has developed an unusually expansive relationship with the justices of the high court — welcoming them as teachers but also as lecturers and special guests at school events. Scalia Law, in turn, has marketed that closeness with the justices as a unique draw to prospective students and donors.”

“The documents show how Scalia Law has offered the justices a safe space in a polarized Washington — an academic cocoon filled with friends and former clerks, where their legal views are celebrated, they are given top pay and treated to teaching trips abroad, and their personal needs are anticipated, from lunch orders to, in Justice Gorsuch’s case, house hunting.”

“Justices Gorsuch, Kavanaugh and Thomas regularly used employees in their chambers to coordinate their outside academic duties, despite a judicial advisory opinion — which the justices say they voluntarily follow — that staff members should not help “in performing activities for which extra compensation is to be received.”…And in a number of instances, the justices’ co-professors filed amicus briefs, trying to sway the court on pending cases, the records show.”

The news comes on the heels of a long pattern of serious Supreme Court ethics issues, prompting Senate Judiciary Committee Chair Dick Durbin to schedule a Tuesday morning hearing on Supreme Court ethics reform. Chief Justice Roberts was invited to testify to the Committee, but refused the invitation.

Over the weekend, Accountable.US launched a mobile billboard to hold Chief Justice Roberts accountable for his refusal to take action regarding the recent pattern of serious Supreme Court ethics issues. See the billboard HERE.


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