On Tuesday, an ethics complaint was filed against Supreme Court Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson, alleging that she “repeatedly” neglected to disclose her spouse’s income from medical consulting fees.
The Center for Renewing America, a conservative organization led by former Trump administration official Russ Vought, submitted a complaint to the Judicial Conference. The complaint asserts that the justice failed to report a portion of her husband’s income for over a decade. The Center urged the conference to forward the complaint to Attorney General Merrick Garland, urging him to initiate an ethics investigation.
The letter highlighted the legal obligation for judges to disclose the origin of “earned income by a spouse from any person exceeding $1,000,” adding that if the spouse “is self-employed in business or a profession, only the nature of such business or profession needs to be reported.”
Before her nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court, as part of her nomination to a district court, she was required to disclose two legal medical malpractice consulting clients who had paid her husband at least $1,000 in 2011. However, subsequent filings revealed that Justice Jackson, appointed by President Biden, “repeatedly failed to disclose her husband’s income from medical malpractice consulting fees” in other filings.
“We know this from Justice Jackson’s own admission in her amended disclosure form for 2020, filed when she was nominated to the Supreme Court, that ‘some of my previously filed reports inadvertently omitted’ her husband’s income from ‘consulting on medical malpractice cases,’” the letter added.
Mr. Vought, the former Trump official, stated in the letter that the justice hasn’t “even attempted to list the years for which her previously filed disclosures omitted her husband’s consulting income,” while later adding that in her 2020 disclosure form, she “provided only the vague statement that ‘some’ of those past disclosures contained material omissions.”
“It is also troubling that Justice Jackson disclosed two sources of her husband’s medical malpractice consulting work in 2011 and then never disclosed another source despite his having received such income in subsequent years,” Mr. Vought said. “Justice Jackson now apparently seeks to describe her husband’s consulting work under the ‘self-employment’ exception to avoid disclosing the sources of her husband’s consulting income,” he added.
The justice’s alleged “willful refusal to disclose her husband’s medical malpractice consulting income on several reports undermines the text and fundamental purpose of the ethics laws and calls into doubt her ability to discharge her duties impartially,” wrote Mr. Vought, who had headed the Office of Management and Budget under President Donald Trump.
The letter also suggested that there could be grounds to question whether Justice Jackson failed to report funding sources for her “massive investiture celebration at the Library of Congress.” This refers to the large event held in her honor at the federal library in 2022, which reportedly included performances by multiple musicians and other groups.
According to a letter from the Center for Renewing America, federal law mandates judicial officers to disclose gifts surpassing $415.11. The letter contends that her celebration at the Library of Congress “easily cost tens of thousands of dollars or more.” It emphasizes the necessity for Justice Jackson to disclose the identities of the funding sources as required by law.
The justice also allegedly “demonstrated awareness of this same disclosure requirement when she reported other post-investiture gifts such as a $1,200 floral display,” the letter stated. “She demonstrated knowledge of this requirement when she disclosed the receipt of $6,580 in designer clothes from Vogue Magazine for a photo shoot.”
The Supreme Court and Justice Jackson have not provided public statements on the matter.
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