June 9, 2024

SCOTUS financial disclosures prompt renewed ethical discussions, concerns

Though liberal critics have routinely taken aim at conservative Supreme Court justices for gifts and perks they have received over the years, one of the liberal members on the panel has reportedly been the recipient of significant largesse herself.

As Fox News reports, Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson has received a serious influx of cash over the past year, not to mention thousands of dollars in concert tickets, according to the high court's latest financial disclosures.

Jackson tells all

Most of the court's justices, including Jackson, met a deadline for annual financial disclosures, and the contents of the filings have drawn significant public interest.

Jackson, for instance, reported receipt of a nearly $900,000 publishing advance from Penguin Random House for a planned memoir entitled Lovely One, slated for release in September.

She also revealed the receipt of artwork worth more than $12,000 and Beyonce concert tickets worth just under $4,000.

Also of note were Jackson's mention of gifts of more than $6,500 worth of clothes related to a photo shoot as well as $1,200 worth of flowers sent by media mogul Oprah Winfrey.

Other amounts revealed

Jackson was not the only justice to reap the rewards of authorship, with Justice Brett Kavanaugh reporting $340,000 in royalties for a book that has yet to be published, according to The Hill.

Sonia Sotomayor pulled in roughly $86,000 from book royalties as well, in addition to nearly $1,900 paid to her for voiceover work in the PBS children's series Alma's Way.

Neil Gorsuch took in just over $250,000 in royalties from two separate publishers, bolstering perceptions of the sometimes-lucrative nature of service on the court.

Thomas submits amendments

Perhaps in answer to his loudest critics on the left, conservative Justice Clarence Thomas filed amended documentation that now includes highly publicized and previously unreported trips paid for by friend and high-dollar Republican donor Harlan Crow, as Fox News noted.

Thomas' relationship with Crow had been the subject of a Pro Publica report last year which aimed to discredit the justice and bring heightened scrutiny to his tenure on the court, though at the time of its release, he clarified that he had always sought guidance about the need to report such gifts and determined that Supreme Court rules required no such disclosure.

Justice Samuel Alito, who has been in the spotlight for an unrelated flag-flying controversy in recent weeks, has sought -- and received -- a 90-day extension for the filing of his own disclosure, which will surely be the subject of close examination by liberal journalists ready to pounce.

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