U.S. Supreme Court

Sotomayor and Gorsuch didn't recuse in cert denials involving their publisher

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Sotomayor and Gorsuch headshots

U.S. Supreme Court Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Neil M. Gorsuch.

U.S. Supreme Court Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Neil Gorsuch failed to recuse themselves when considering cert petitions involving the publisher of their books, Penguin Random House.

Sotomayor didn’t recuse herself, despite receiving more than $3 million in advance payments from part of the Penguin Random House publishing conglomerate, report the Daily Wire and court transparency group Fix the Court here and here. Sotomayor didn’t recuse in one case in 2013 and in another in 2019 and 2020.

The cert denials left intact lower court rulings for the publisher in two copyright cases, CNN reports in a story that noted the Daily Wire and Fix the Court reports.

Financial disclosure forms for 2010 and 2012 show that Sotomayor received $3.1 million from the publishing conglomerate, according to CNN. Disclosure forms for 2017 through 2021 show that she received nearly $500,000 more in book royalties and advances.

Gorsuch didn’t recuse in a more recent case, despite earning $655,000 from Penguin Random House, according to financial disclosure forms cited by CNN for 2018, 2019 and 2020.

Justices Amy Coney Barrett and Ketanji Brown Jackson are also planning to publish books.

“I think these entities should be added to the justices’ recusal sheets, and they should not participate in petitions involving their book publishers that are very clearly enriching them,” said Gabe Roth, executive director of Fix the Court, in an interview with CNN.

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