U.S. Supreme Court

2 SCOTUS justices delay financial disclosure; which justice listed $1,200 in flowers from Oprah?

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SCOTUS Roberts Court June 2022

The U.S. Supreme Court as composed June 30, 2022, to present. Photo by Fred Schilling via the Supreme Court website.

The U.S. Supreme Court’s newest justice, Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson, had “the most glamorous disclosures” on forms released Wednesday for seven of the high court’s justices, according to SCOTUSblog.

Jackson revealed that she received $1,200 worth of flowers from talk show host Oprah Winfrey, clothes valued at $6,580 for a Vogue photo shoot, and a John Steele painting valued at $580. She is the only justice to report gifts above the $415 threshold.

Court transparency group Fix the Court commented on and linked to the disclosures for 2022, while Law.com and the Washington Post had coverage. How Appealing linked to additional stories.

Two justices—Justice Clarence Thomas and Justice Samuel Alito—have received extensions to file their financial disclosure forms.

News coverage has revealed that Thomas received free luxury travel from conservative billionaire and Republican megadonor Harlan Crow, who also purchased property partly owned by Thomas and paid part of his grandnephew’s private boarding school tuition.

“Court watchers interested in Thomas’ disclosures for 2022 will have to wait,” SCOTUSblog concludes.

A U.S. Judicial Conference committee adopted revised ethics rules in March that required all federal judges, including Supreme Court justices, to disclose when they are treated to vacation stays at commercial properties and when they travel by private jet, according to the Washington Post. Stays at private vacation homes don’t have to be disclosed, however.

Even if the justices disclose private plane flights and free resort stays, according to Fix the Court, they “are still not telling the public if, for example, their spouses’ clients have cases before the court or how many times the justices dined with politicians in a given year. And in contrast to lawmakers’ disclosure requirements, the justices do not report how much the free transportation, lodging and meals they receive cost their hosts.”

Some justices have made changes to their disclosures. Justice Elena Kagan revealed that the Washington, D.C., real estate that she owns is a parking space valued at $15,000 to $50,000. She received between $2,501 and $5,000 in rent for the space. And Chief Justice John Roberts said his financial disclosure forms for 2019 to 2021 failed to note that his wife has a “non-income generating” equity stake in the legal recruiting firm where she works.

Other disclosures include:

  • In the rental income category, Roberts rented out his vacation homes in Maine and Ireland, while Justice Sonia Sotomayor rented out her Greenwich Village apartment.
  • In the category of teaching income, three justices reported making a little below the $30,555 cap: Justices Amy Coney Barrett, Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh.
  • In the category of investments, Roberts sold stock in Texas Instruments and Charter Communications.
  • In the category of sponsored trips, Gorsuch, Sotomayor, Barrett and Kavanaugh were provided overseas transportation to teach or attend legal events.

See also:

ABAJournal.com: “Supreme Court justices should follow binding code of ethics, ABA House says”

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