Allegations against wife of Chief Justice Roberts spark demand for ethics reform, investigations of Supreme Court

February 1, 2023

In their zeal to further disparage and undermine the conservative-leaning Supreme Court, leftist activists and the media have begun to play up and scrutinize alleged ethical transgressions and conflicts of interest involving the spouses of Republican-appointed justices.

The latest focus of such scrutiny is Jane Sullivan Roberts, the wife of Chief Justice Roberts, who is now the subject of calls for investigations by Congress and the Justice Department, the Washington Examiner reported.

At issue here is Jane Roberts' job as a high-end legal recruiter, for which she earns substantial hiring commissions, including for firms with business before the nation's highest court. Ironically, she had given up her prior career as a practicing attorney specifically in order to avoid such ethical concerns about potential conflicts of interest.

Allegations of unethical conflicts of interest

The New York Times reported this week that a former colleague of Jane Roberts, Kendal Price -- who had been fired from and sued the firm both he and Roberts used to work at -- had provided documents obtained from the lawsuit to Congress and the DOJ with a demand that an inquiry into the chief justice's wife is opened.

Price alleged that Roberts had been paid millions in recruitment commissions from various firms, including some with cases before the Supreme Court, that were not fully disclosed the chief justice, and suggested that such financial relationships could impact the impartiality of a justice and, as such, should be completely disclosed to the public.

The Times noted that Chief Justice Roberts has never recused himself from a case involving firms linked to his wife's recruitment, and a Supreme Court spokesperson said that all justices and their spouses, including the chief justice and his wife, have been "attentive to ethical constraints" and abided by disclosure requirements.

The spokesperson also insisted that the justices and their spouses have fully complied with the court's code of conduct and pointed to a 2009 Judicial Conference opinion which stated that justices were not required to recuse themselves from cases involving parties that a spouse had done recruitment work on behalf of.

Nonetheless, The Times noted that Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL), chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said in a statement that the allegations put forward by Price raised "troubling issues that once again demonstrate the need" for Congress to impose various ethical reforms in order to "begin the process of restoring faith in the Supreme Court."

Spouses of other conservative-leaning justices targeted

This attack against Jane Roberts is not new, nor is she the only spouse of a Republican-appointed Supreme Court justice to come under such amplified scrutiny from the political left and the media.

In September 2022, Politico published a report that essentially accused certain justices of exploiting loopholes in the ethics rules and financial disclosure requirements to avoid disclosing certain information and "shield" their spouses from scrutiny.

In addition to Roberts, the outlet also named Jesse Barrett, the husband of Justice Amy Coney Barrett and head attorney of an Indiana-based law firm, along with Ginni Thomas, wife of Justice Clarence Thomas and a conservative activist, as being shielded from ethical scrutiny and financial disclosures by their spouses.

Politico even seemed to level allegations of unethical behavior against the late Justice Antonin Scalia, but also revealed its bias by essentially giving a pass on scrutiny of Patrick Graves Jackson, husband of Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson who is also the chief of general surgery at MedStar Georgetown University Hospital and has been shielded by his wife from disclosing the paid consulting work he does for medical malpractice lawsuits.

This is all so obvious

The point of all of this is glaringly apparent to those who pay attention -- cast aspersions and insinuations against the impartiality of the conservative-leaning justices in order to further undermine the credibility of the Republican-appointed Supreme Court majority in the view of the American public.

The likely hope is that seeding the general public with allegations of potential improprieties and conflicts of interest will spur an outcry and demand for more congressional oversight and legislative ethical reforms that Democrats will then attempt to use to impose their overriding will on a separate and co-equal branch of the government.

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