Dernière actualité pour les passionnés : Supreme Court Justice Kavanaugh Said The Court Is Working On ‘Concrete Steps’ To Address Ethics Issues

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Le texte a été édité à une date notée 2023-09-07 16:22:00.


Asked about the ethical issues that have plagued the Supreme Court recently, Justice Brett Kavanaugh said Thursday that the court was “continuing to work on those issues” and he’s “hopeful that there will be some concrete steps taken soon,” according to multiple news organizations present, the first indication of any kind that the Supreme Court is willing to address the ethical scandals.

Key Facts

Kavanaugh, speaking at a conference of lawyers and judges in Cleveland, Ohio, said of the court: “We’re nine public servants that are hard-working and care a lot about the court and care a lot about the judiciary as a whole.”

He added that the justices “want that respect for the institution to be shared by the American people » and « to the extent that we can increase confidence, we’re working on that.”

This comes after months of revelations from the media about questionable ethical behavior among justices, much of it focused on Justice Clarence Thomas, that has sparked massive controversy and backlash.

Key Background

This ethical crisis began in April when reporting from the nonprofit investigative news organization ProPublica unveiled that Thomas has for two decades accepted numerous expensive vacations, rides in private jets and yachts and expensive private school tuition payments for his family members from Harlan Crow, a Dallas conservative businessman who has donated millions of dollars to political causes aimed at shaping the court. Further reporting from ProPublica found that Thomas has also accepted at least 38 more ultra-expensive destination vacations from three other billionaires. Thomas did not disclose those gifts on his required financial disclosures, the ProPublica investigations found. Thomas has also faced continual criticism over his wife Ginni Thomas’ right-wing activism, particularly her support of efforts to overturn the 2020 election while her husband was hearing cases on it. The justice was criticized for failing to recuse himself in a case regarding whether Trump administration documents held by the National Archives would be turned over to the House January 6 Committee. In the months that followed, more revelations about the Supreme Court emerged. Soon after, Politico revealed that the chief executive of a large law firm that regularly litigates cases before the Supreme Court, Brian Duffey, purchased a rural Colorado home from Justice Neil Gorsuch, after Gorsuch had long been struggling to find a buyer. Gorsuch disclosed the sale, which occurred nine days after his confirmation to the court, but didn’t specify that Duffy was the buyer. Additionally, an ex-colleague of Chief Justice John Roberts’ wife, Jane Sullivan Roberts, reported potential conflicts of interest surrounding her work as a legal recruiter, the New York Times reported in January. In June, ProPublica reported that Justice Samuel Alito was gifted a luxury fishing trip that he didn’t disclose. The trip was to Alaska, with Paul Singer, a billionaire who runs a hedge fund that regularly had business before the Supreme Court. Meanwhile, Justice Sonia Sotomayor reportedly used employees with taxpayer-funded salaries to pressure libraries and public institutions into purchasing copies of her book, according to a July Associated Press report.

News Peg

Thursday’s comments come after other justices have scoffed at attempts by other arms of the government to attempt to hold it accountable. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee invited Roberts to testify at a May 2 hearing, but the chief justice declined, writing in a letter that it’s rare for a chief justice to testify before Congress and that the court must maintain “judicial independence.” The court has largely ignored a letter sent by five House members, asking the Justice Department to investigate Thomas’ actions. Many of the justices have defended their actions when asked about them. Alito went so far as to write an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal defending his fishing trip and claiming he didn’t know about Singer’s connection to the court cases or see any need to disclose the trip. Thomas, who has been at the center of the biggest and most scandals, minimized the severity of his accusations. He said in a statement following the initial ProPublica report about his gifts from Crow that he was “advised that this sort of personal hospitality from close personal friends, who did not have business before the Court, was not reportable.”

Further Reading

Clarence Thomas: Top House Democrats Call For DOJ Investigation Over Gifts (Forbes)

Clarence Thomas: Here Are All The Ethics Scandals Involving The Supreme Court Justice Amid Latest ProPublica Revelations (Forbes)

Justice Kavanaugh says ethics changes may be coming to Supreme Court (Washington Post)

Brett Kavanaugh says justices are working on ‘concrete steps’ on ethics (CNN)

Supreme Court Justice Kavanaugh predicts ‘concrete steps soon’ to address ethics concerns (the Associated Press)

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