The lack of a code of ethics for the Supreme Court has raised concerns amidst incidents of non-disclosure by Justices, while other Justices are making significant sums from book deals.
Supreme Court Non-disclosures: Some Justices have faced accusations of non-disclosure of gifts and payments they’ve received.
* Justice Samuel Alito failed to disclose his all-expenses-paid trip funded by hedge fund titan Paul Singer, who has been involved in 10 Supreme Court appeals.
* Justice Clarence Thomas reportedly enjoyed trips and other benefits from Republican megadonor Harlan Crow, in addition to undisclosed financial support for Thomas’ grandnephew.
Lack of Ethics Code: Despite repeated calls by Chief Justice John Roberts for an ethics code for the court, there has been no progress.
* Issues surrounding non-disclosure may stem from uncertainties in ethical guidelines.
* Crow’s private jet, his yacht, and his resorts are owned by his businesses, meaning Thomas should disclose these gifts under the “clarified” rules on hospitality from friends.
Outside Wealth: Several members of the court have earned significant income from book deals.
* Justice Sonia Sotomayor has earned $3.5 million from her memoir and children’s books.
* Justice Clarence Thomas has earned over $1 million from his memoir.
* Justice Amy Coney Barrett has signed a book contract worth $2 million.
* Justice Neil Gorsuch has made about $1 million from two books.
Public Image Damage: The undisclosed benefits and high earnings of Justices are negatively affecting public confidence in the court.
* Various reports on the personal wealth and undisclosed benefits of Justices have led to a decrease in public confidence in the court’s impartiality.
* As these stories pile up, there have been growing calls for a defined code of ethics for the Supreme Court.
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