Leftists have been waging an endless war on the legitimacy of the Supreme Court, often resorting to attacking the spouses of Conservative Supreme Court Justices—especially Ginni Thomas, wife to Justice Clarence Thomas. But this time, the attacks were broadened to include not only the spouses of Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Amy Coney Barrett but also liberal Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson. A September article appearing in Politico posits that conflict of interest disclosure requirements for the Justices' spouses are far too lenient, "fanning fears of outside influences."
As Mark Paoletta points out for The Federalist, broader disclosure requirements would amount to a "marriage penalty" for the justices' spouses:
[I]n the Politico piece, Professor Gillers argues for a broader justice’s spousal disclosure standard: “[W]hy should a justice’s spouse not have to reveal a very large payment from a client that could substantially improve a justice’s quality of life?”
The better question is what business is it of anyone’s if that spouse’s client does not have any case before the Supreme Court? And if a spouse’s client has a case before the court and the spouse has a financial interest in the outcome of the case, the justice is required to recuse under the recusal law.
This new disclosure standard would violate client confidence and amount to a marriage penalty for working spouses of justices. A justice’s spouse could not practice law, medicine, psychiatry, or any other profession where client confidentiality is important. And spouses in other professions would be unnecessarily put at a competitive disadvantage.
Moreover, this level of disclosure has never been required of any other public official in the executive and legislative branches which have an even greater effect on American citizens’ lives through legislation and regulations. Pursuant to the same Ethics In Government Act, members of Congress (and staff) and executive branch officials also are only required to disclose the employer of their spouse if they make more than $1,000 from that source. And if that spouse is self-employed, the spouse still does not need to disclose clients. Thus, these officials’ spouse’s clients or income are not required to be disclosed. For example, Sen. Mazie Hirono’s spouse is a lawyer who works at a law firm. On her 2022 disclosure form, Hirono simply lists the law firm name and that her spouse makes more than $1,000 from that firm.
The notion that a Justice would be unable to operate with integrity regarding the work of their spouses is offensive to everyone involved. But then again, the Left has proven time and time again that they are hypocrites on this issue.
Democrat Senator Sheldon Whitehouse is a prime example of hypocrisy. He constantly complains about the influence of "dark-money" on the Supreme Court.
Despite repeated requests, Supreme Court wouldn’t do anything about dark-money amicus briefs — but Judicial Conference did. They are examining the issue now.— Sheldon Whitehouse (@SenWhitehouse) October 15, 2022
It does seem SCOTUS is isolated on ethics issues from rest of federal bench, who are under a judicial Code of Ethics that Supreme Court justices are not — except as they themselves see fit (“judex in sua causa,” as they say). Where’s Nemo?— Sheldon Whitehouse (@SenWhitehouse) October 15, 2022
But at the same time, Senator Whitehouse is a champion of liberal dark-money groups himself.
Never forget that Sheldon Whitehouse LOVES dark money as long as it's liberal dark money.— JCN (@judicialnetwork) August 30, 2022
"To @LCVoters to @NRDC to the working together that you've done through the action fund and the victory fund — you guys have been terrific." - @SenWhitehouse https://t.co/j6te13zR5e pic.twitter.com/kLAGKLltv1
With this year's term shaping up to be another history-maker, attacks on the legitimacy of the Supreme Court will undoubtedly continue.