The Supreme Court has been under attack since the 2020 election, with protests outside the homes of judges, an unprecedented leak, and now scrutiny in the professions of family members.
SCOTUS released its report earlier this month into who might have leaked the draft opinion by Justice Samuel Alito concerning returning the question of abortion back to the states. The report did not find the leak, but one lawmaker has expressed an opinion on the matter.
Now there is a question about the professional work of one of the justices’ wives. U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts’s wife could face an ethics inquiry by the Department of Justice.
A former colleague of Jane Sullivan Roberts has formally asked the DOJ for an inquiry after claiming that the chief justice’s wife had been paid millions in commissions to place lawyers at firms — some of which have business before the Supreme Court. Jane Roberts is a high-end legal recruiter, Conservative Brief reports.
“In his letter last month, Kendal Price, a 66-year-old Boston lawyer, argued that the justices should be required to disclose more information about their spouses’ work. He did not cite specific Supreme Court decisions, but said he was worried that a financial relationship with law firms arguing before the court could affect justices’ impartiality or at least give the appearance of doing so,” the New York Times reported.
“Mrs. Roberts, now the managing partner of the Washington office of Macrae Inc., had spent two decades at the law firm Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman, where she became a partner in the global technology group and also focused on talent development. In 2007, she changed careers and soon ascended the ranks of her new industry. Partners at leading law firms in Washington on average make well over $1 million a year, and at the high end, they can be paid over $7 million. Recruiting firms take a large cut from those placements, often equivalent to a quarter of the new hires’ first-year salaries,” the NYT reported.
“The spreadsheets list six-figure fees credited to Mrs. Roberts for placing partners at law firms — including $690,000 in 2012 for one such match. The documents do not name clients, but Mr. Price recalled her recruitment of one prominent candidate, Ken Salazar, then interior secretary under President Barack Obama, to WilmerHale, a global firm that boasts of arguing more than 125 times before the Supreme Court,” the outlet added.
“I do believe that litigants in U.S. courts, and especially the Supreme Court, deserve to know if their judges’ households are receiving six-figure payments from the law firms,” Price wrote.
Chief Justice Roberts’s wife, Jane Sullivan Roberts, has made millions recruiting lawyers to prominent law firms, some with business at the Supreme Court. Now, a letter to Congress from a former colleague of hers claims that may be a conflict of interest. https://t.co/DW9TR3Qnqq
— The New York Times (@nytimes) January 31, 2023
The investigation into the SCOTUS leak concluded without identifying the source of the leak to Politico last year. Texas GOP Sen. Ted Cruz recently offered his opinion of who he believes leaked the draft to Politico, Conservative Brief reports.
“I had several reporters ask today ‘what if it was a justice that did this?’ I gotta tell you, I just don’t believe that,” Cruz said, ruling out the Obama appointee herself. “It is such a grotesque violation of trust, to me, it is beyond imagination that a justice would do this.”
“To use the nuclear code example, it’s like the president handing the nuclear codes to Putin, it’s just…I cannot believe that even the most left-wing justice would do this,” he added.
“I think it is very, very likely a law clerk,” he said. “And it is very, very likely a law clerk for one of the three liberal justices, that means there are twelve human beings who are your likely suspect pool, that’s not a big likely suspect pool.”
“It is likely to be someone who is a hard partisan, and who was willing to burn the place down because he or she was so upset about what happens,” Cruz continued, “If I were to guess, the most likely justice for whom the law clerk is clerking is Sonia Sotomayor.”
“Why do you say that?” Knowles asked in response.
“Because she’s the most partisan of the justices, and so, she’s the most likely to hire wild-eyed partisans as clerks,” he answered, adding that “I have no evidence of that. I’m just making an inference.”
Cruz then went on to address the gravity of the leak itself, which he and many other Republicans have called extremely serious.
“It is difficult to overstate how destructive it is to the Supreme Court, to the independence of the judiciary, to the integrity of the court, to have a draft opinion leaked during the process of deciding the case,” Cruz said. “In over 200 years of our nation’s history, that has never happened, and there was one woke, little left-wing twit who decided to hell with his or her obligations to the justice they work for, to hell with their obligations to the court, to hell with their obligations to the rule of law, that they would instead try to sneak it out in order to put political pressure on the justices and intimidate them into changing their votes,” he added.