Another shoe to drop in story of Clarence Thomas and billionaire pal?

Supreme Court Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson‘s transparency gaps were brought up during a hearing on high court ethics reform by Sen. John Kennedy (R-LA), who asked why the Democrats didn’t levy the same scrutiny against her as they did with Justice Clarence Thomas.

Kennedy’s questions came during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on ethics after reports revealed Thomas failed to disclose paid trips he went on with wealthy GOP donor Harlan Crow. Democrats have called on Congress to impose ethics rules, while Republicans large

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John Kennedy

(Alex Brandon/AP)

“Justice Jackson made multiple amendments three days after President Biden nominated her. Not one senator brought that up during her confirmation hearings. Not one of my colleagues here walked into her hearings with the buckets of mud that they’ve thrown against Justice Thomas. Not one,” Kennedy said.

In September, Jackson disclosed that she had “inadvertently omitted” information about self-employed consulting income that her spouse received from consulting on medical malpractice cases. Her revisions also revealed new information about reimbursements for travel and board memberships stemming back to at least 2014, according to Bloomberg.

Senator John Kennedy perfectly sums up Democrat attacks on the legitimacy of the Supreme Court:

“My democratic colleagues should fill out a hurt feelings report and move on, for the sake of the Constitution!” (@townhallcom) May 2, 2023

Kennedy then blasted the news reports surrounding Thomas, saying that “some Democrats and their media allies” have “attempted hit pieces” on the longest-serving sitting justice and his Republican-appointed colleagues.

The Louisiana senator was referring to at least two separate reports from ProPublica that highlighted Thomas’s failure to disclose travel gifts from Crow and one Georgia property transaction the donor had with the justice, though Thomas recently said he didn’t report the sale because he didn’t make a profit. Last week, Politico reported Justice Neil Gorsuch was the joint owner of a Colorado property he sold to a major law firm CEO.

“This is untenable,” committee Chairman Dick Durbin (D-IL) said Tuesday. “Ethics cannot simply be left to the discretion of the nation’s highest court. The court should have a code of conduct with clear and enforceable rules.”

Durbin had called on Chief Justice John Roberts to testify for the hearing but had his request denied last week. Roberts issued a letter signed by all the justices that included “a Statement of Ethics Principles and Practices to which all of the current Members of the Supreme Court subscribe.”

The high court has repeatedly maintained it consults a code of conduct followed by lower court federal judges. The main difference is that the already advisory code for lower court judges is hardly enforceable for the high court, given the limited number of nine justices, legal experts have said.

Earlier in the hearing, ranking member Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) called the recent reports on the justices a “concentrated effort by the Left to delegitimize the court and to cherry-pick examples to make a point.”

Chief judge in contentious DeSantis v Disney lawsuit steps aside after it emerges one of his relatives owns stock in Disney – and accuses Florida governor of ‘rank judge shopping’

Federal Judge Mark E. Walker announced Thursday night he would recuse himself in a case Disney brought against Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis.

Billionaire Harlan Crow ALSO paid for Clarence Thomas’ grand-nephew to go to private school: New report says GOP megadonor covered $6,000-a-month checks for boy who the Justice ‘treated like a son’

Billionaire Harlan Crow ALSO paid for Clarence Thomas' grand-nephew to go to private

Billionaire real estate developer Harlan Crow’s company paid $6,200 to the private academy where Clarence Thomas’ grand-nephew attended school. Tuition at two schools the relative attended could have reached $150,000 over a four year period. Thomas did not disclose the $6,200 payment that has emerged on his financial disclosure forms. Crow has also been revealed to have funded lavish vacations for Thomas and his wife, Ginni. The revelations come amid calls in Congress for a code of conduct for the Supreme Court. › news › 2023 › 04 › clarence-thomas-ethics-violations-supreme-court

Clarence Thomas Is On a Quest to Be the Most Corrupt Justice In the …

Clarence Thomas Is On a Quest to Be the Most Corrupt Justice In the Court The Supreme Court justice has reportedly spent decades accepting exorbitant gifts, luxury vacations, and yacht… › news › magazine › 2023 › 04 › 18 › clarence-thomas-scandal-corruption-00092335

Opinion | The Clarence Thomas Scandal Is About More Than Corruption …

Apr 18, 2023As a description of the problem of Clarence Thomas, however, corruption too has its limits. Morally, corruption rotates on the same axis as sincerity — forever testing the purity or… › politics › 2023 › 4 › 25 › 23697394 › supreme-court-clarence-thomas-neil-gorsuch-corruption-harlan-crow-constitution

The Supreme Court’s corruption crisis goes beyond Clarence Thomas – Vox

As Bloomberg reports, the Supreme Court — including Justice Thomas — did briefly consider a $25 million copyright dispute involving a company that Crow was a partial owner of in 2005. At that … › article › politics › clarence-thomas-ginni-thomas-texts

The Corruption of Clarence and Ginni Thomas | The Nation

The Corruption of Clarence and Ginni Thomas Texts between the justice’s wife and the Trump White House reveal the extent of her involvement in trying to subvert the election of Joe Biden…. › us-news › 2023 › apr › 20 › clarence-thomas-supreme-court-harlan-crow-luxury-gifts

Judicial record undermines Clarence Thomas defence in luxury gifts …

Apr 20, 2023Clarence Thomas at the swearing-in of Amy Coney Barrett in October 2020. … decried Crow’s largesse as “very serious corruption” and called for Thomas to … “Any insinuation that Justice … › entry › clarence-thomas-supreme-court-corruption_n_64302e52e4b0de2472486256

The Clarence Thomas Scandal Is What’s Wrong With Our Democracy

Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas had been problematic even before a new report that he and his wife, Ginni, accepted lavish and unreported vacations from a wealthy Republican donor, Harlan Crow. › justice › 2023-04-26-democrats-supreme-court-corruption

What Democrats Can Learn From Reporting on Supreme Court Corruption …

What Democrats Can Learn From Reporting on Supreme Court Corruption. The justices are sensitive to political pressure. Senate Democrats can impose that pressure through investigation. An activist speaks during a press conference to call on Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas to resign, April 19, 2023, on Capitol Hill in Washington. › media › clarence-thomas-most-corrupt-justices-american-history-msnbc-elie-mystal-declares

Clarence Thomas is one of the ‘most corrupt justices in American …

Clarence Thomas is one of the ‘most corrupt justices in American history,’ MSNBC guest declares ‘For one of the – if not the – most corrupt justices in American history, to then be… › news › 2022 › 09 › 01 › corrupt-hell-demands-clarence-thomas-resign-follow-new-details-wifes-election

‘Corrupt as Hell’: Demands for Clarence Thomas to Resign Follow New …

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas faced fresh calls to step down Thursday after new reporting revealed that his wife’s involvement in efforts to overturn the 2020 presidential election was broader than previously known, extending to the battleground state of Wisconsin as well as Arizona. “Reminder that Clarence Thomas heard election cases while his wife conspired to overthrow democracy.”

‘I stand by my testimony’ on Hunter Biden investigation, Attorney General Merrick Garland says despite whistleblower claims that he lied under oath and interfered with the criminal probe

Attorney General Merrick Garland (left) said ‘that is still the case’ when a reporter asked him if he stood by his comments to Congress last year saying the Hunter Biden (right with Joe) investigation would be conducted without political interference. The comment comes after a whistleblower come forward claiming that a senior Biden administration official did, in fact, interfere with the probe – and confirmed that the official in question is Garland. The whistleblower, according to a letter from attorney Mark Lytle, says politics are ‘improperly infecting decisions’ in the probe into the president’s 53-year-old son.

The Chief Justice of Hawaii’s Supreme Court, who is hearing Honolulu’s lawsuit against oil and gas companies for climate damages, has worked with a D.C-based environmental group that has close ties to the plaintiff’s attorneys.

Honolulu’s lawsuit against Sunoco, Shell, Chevron and other companies is one of many lawsuits cities have filed against energy companies in an effort to extract alleged damages for the firms’ contributions to climate change; the Supreme Court declined to hear these lawsuits in April, pushing them back to state courts—meaning Honolulu’s case is now squarely before Hawaii Supreme Court Chief Justice Mark Recktenwald. However, on May 9, Recktenwald disclosed that he engages in “educational presentations relating to environmental, energy, and natural resource issues” and has worked with the Environmental Law Institute (ELI), a group which routinely collaborates with environmental activists.

ELI co-founded the Climate Judiciary Project, which developed a climate science and law curriculum for judges handling environment litigation, and has worked closely with individuals who have consulted for or been employed by the environmental activist legal firm representing Honolulu in its lawsuit, Sher Edling LLP.

“Judges are supposed to not only be impartial, but to maintain the appearance of impartiality so that the public can have faith in their rulings,” Rob Schilling, Executive Director of Energy Policy Advocates, a nonprofit that works for transparency in energy policy, told the Daily Caller News Foundation. “It appears that the judge may have attended (or even presented at!) seminars organized for those on one side of this type of case. Those on the other side were not permitted to present their view, and the seminar took place outside of the courtroom and outside the protections provided by the rules of evidence.”

Recktenwald presented a remote course, “Rising Seas and Litigation: What Judges Need to Know About Warming-Driven Sea Level Rise,” in collaboration with the Environmental Law Institute on April 4, according to his disclosure. Recktenwald also presented at a December 2022 ELI webinar on “Hurricanes in a Changing Climate and Related Litigation and a 2020 symposium on “Judiciary And The Environmental Rule of Law: Adjudicating Our Future,” which was also in collaboration with ELI but was omitted from his May 9 disclosure. (RELATED: ‘Disappointing’: SCOTUS Won’t Hear Energy Companies’ Appeals To Climate Damage Lawsuits)

Moreover, those connected to ELI and the CJP curriculum’s development have direct links to Sher Edling.

Ann Carlson, President Joe Biden’s nominee for National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) administrator who served on the board of directors for the Environmental Law Institute from 2016 to 2020, previously consulted for Sher Edling and solicited donations on behalf of the firm, according to Fox News.

Carlson, who is a professor at UCLA Law School’s Emmett Institute on Climate Change and the Environment Center, which previously hosted events supporting the cause of climate lawsuits, was also an advisor for ELI’s curriculum instructing judges on how to examine climate-based cases.

She also used money from funds she had access to at UCLA, titled the “Ann Carlson Discretionary Fund,” to help fund a 2019 trip that allowed her to “encourage Hawaii to consider a nuisance lawsuit,” according to emails obtained by Climate Litigation Watch. Honolulu filed its lawsuit in March 2020.

Michael Burger, who currently works on climate cases at Sher Edling in his capacity as Of Counsel, has spoken at an ELI briefing and conference. Burger has also filed multiple amicus briefs in support of cities suing oil and gas companies as executive director of the Sabin Center for Climate Change Law at Columbia Law School.

Former Sher Edling employee Meredith Wilensky was a Public Interest Law Fellow at the Environmental Law Institute before she joined the firm in 2017, according to LinkedIn.

Schilling said the connection to the law firm backing plaintiffs in these climate lawsuits is “clear.”

“In short, after the climate plaintiffs lost in California and New York, with one judge not only keeping the case in federal court but requesting a day of evidence on the science, the Environmental Law Institute scrambled to organize what became this running operation to get the plaintiffs’ case in front of as many judges as possible,” he said. “Their materials don’t even bother a nod at [subtlety].”

Northern District of California Judge William Alsup tossed climate cases from San Francisco and Oakland in June 2018, and Southern District of New York Judge John F. Keenan tossed a case from New York City in July 2018. The Climate Judiciary Project was launched in April 2019.

“As the body of climate litigation grows, judges must consider complex scientific and legal questions, many of which are developing rapidly,” its website states. “To address these issues, the Climate Judiciary Project of the Environmental Law Institute is collaborating with leading national judicial education institutions to meet judges’ need for basic familiarity with climate science methods and concepts.”

Modules in the Climate Judiciary Project’s curriculum from January 2023 include “Overview of Climate Litigation,” “Judicial Remedies for Climate Disruption: A Preliminary Analysis,” and “Procedural Techniques Available for Climate Litigation.”

Recktenwald notes in his disclosure that he also intends to present at a June 20 virtual event titled, “Environment, Energy and Natural Resource Disputes: The Use of Special Masters in Resolving Complex Litigation,” as co-chair of the Energy, Environment and Natural Resources Committee of the Conferences of Chief Justices and Chief Court Administrators. His notice asks “any party who has concerns” about his participation to object by May 19, 2023.

“And so, these seminars parade a series of plaintiffs’ witnesses and supportive amicus brief filers before potential judges,” Schilling said. “In fact, another activist seminar presenter, Prof. Charles Fletcher, just sought leave from the Hawai’i Supreme Court on Friday to file an amicus brief in support of the plaintiffs.”

Recktenwald isn’t the only judge who has participated in ELI seminars. Two additional judges on the Hawaii Supreme Court, Associate Justice Sabrina McKenna and Associate Justice Michael Wilson, also participated in the 2020 symposium, along with judges on other Hawaii courts and from different states.

In March, the Hawaii Supreme Court found in a separate case that citizens have a right to a “life-sustaining climate system.”

Wilson wrote in a concurring opinion that we are facing a “climate emergency” that puts the “lives of our children and future generations” at stake.

“[T]he history of these seminars, from their timing and origins to the widespread and extremely active participation by judges hearing these cases — which of course was the seminars’ entire objective — is something that it is difficult to conceive is actually happening in the U.S,” Schilling said.

Recktenwald, Sher Edling, ELI and the companies being sued by Honolulu did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Career gone to pot! Oregon’s Secretary of State RESIGNS after she was caught working as $10,000-a-month consultant for legal weed firm: Says she did it to supplement her $77,000-a-year salary

Oregon Secretary of State Shemia Fagan resigns over $10k-a-month second job with weed firm

Shemia Fagan has resigned less than a week after it emerged she was moonlighting as a consultant for an embattled cannabis firm that donated around $250,000 to her campaign. The mother-of-two said Tuesday she took the $10,000 a month job – on top of her $77,000 annual salary as Secretary of State – to ‘make ends meet’ for her family. Her resignation came a day after she terminated her contract with Veriede Holdings, an affiliate of legal cannabis company La Mota, apologizing to voters for her ‘poor judgment’.

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