Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor failed to recuse herself from cases involving Penguin Random House despite receiving nearly $3.5 million from the company, the Washington Times reported. The publisher paid Sotomayor for her memoirs and several children's books.
A dispute between Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg and the publishing company had come to the Supreme Court after an appeal. Zuckerberg claimed a proposal for his book was stolen and made into the movie "The Social Network."
The justices would not rule on the case but did vote on whether to take it up or not, including Sotomayor. Had Zuckerberg won, it would have cost the publisher a mint.
A similar lawsuit involving a children's book allegedly stolen from its author also didn't make it to the Supreme Court after the justices voted against hearing it. The court doesn't publicize how each judge votes on such a case, but it's notable that Sotomayor didn't recuse herself as she should have.
These revelations come as Justice Clarence Thomas has come under fire for alleged ethics violations. Thomas and his wife were treated to luxury vacations from a family friend, billionaire and Republican donor, Harlan Crow.
Crow also became a benefactor to Thomas's great-nephew, for whom he paid tuition at two separate private schools. Thomas and his wife had raised the boy as their own since the age of six.
Another report found that Crow purchased the home of Thomas's mother but allowed her to live there. Other justices appointed by Republican presidents have come under scrutiny for things like collecting hefty professors' salaries from George Mason University.
Until recently, there was no official code of conduct for Supreme Court Justices except that they must adhere to the rules of all federal employees. Recently, Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. has proposed his own standards in a letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee.
"The Justices, like other federal judges, consult a wide variety of authorities to address specific ethical issues," Roberts wrote. "They may turn to judicial opinions, treatises, scholarly articles, disciplinary decisions, and the historical practice of the Court and the federal judiciary."
"They may also seek advice from the Court’s Legal Office and from their colleagues," Roberts added. Democrats in the Senate have indicated that they will pass rules to make them binding on the court.
All told these attacks on Thomas have more to do with politics than with any supposed ethics violations. Thomas has taken the brunt of these attacks, which are often shockingly racist, Fox News reported.
Thomas was nominated to the court by Republican President George H.W. Bush and endured a brutal confirmation hearing. Then, he had the audacity to be a conservative Constitutionalist and pro-life which has made him a target since he got on the bench.
Now the left has been sent over the edge since the high court overturned the Roe v. Wade decision last year and seem to have homed in on Thomas. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer publicly said the justices would "reap the whirlwind" if they dared reverse decades of bad precedent.
Everyone in government should act ethically and keep their dealings above board. However, it's wrong to apply these standards unfairly based solely on a justice's political leanings.