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Recent Times in Which a Justice Failed to Recuse Despite a Conflict of Interests

SEPTEMBER 19, 2022

Why Do the Justices Keep Forgetting Their Conflicts of Interest?

For a complete list of the justices’ ethics lapses that go beyond missed recusals, see this link, last updated 9/20/22.

Missed recusals since FTC’s founding (Nov. 2014) include:

  1. OT21: Justice Thomas failed to recuse in 21-1389, Bates v. Trump, another petition related to the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection. (See additional details below.) Reported on 6/28/22; no further direct action taken (yet).

  2. OT21: Justice Thomas failed to recuse in 21A272, Thompson v. Trump, despite his wife Ginni having a §455(b) “interest” in the outcome of the proceeding. What’s more, her election subversion movement would have necessarily led to the Supreme Court, where Justice Thomas would have been asked to rule. Plus, Justice Thomas may have material knowledge of the facts in one or more of the Jan. 6 cases by virtue of his wife’s involvement, and there might be more texts and emails out there that the Jan. 6 Committee would come into possession of. Reported on 3/24/22; no further direct action taken, though the non-recusal was mentioned at the April 27 House Judiciary hearing at which FTC’s Gabe Roth testified.

And on and on, liberal justices get a few dings too, but the extreme right-wingers, they are in a class of their own.

Recent Ethical Lapses by Supreme Court Justices

These are listed by the justice’s seniority, then in chronological order; lapses are mostly those that have occurred since Fix the Court’s Nov. 2014 founding. Need a source or citation? E-mail

The Justices Keep Forgetting About Their Conflicts of Interest.

Justice Elena Kagan will not be deciding an immigration suit argued at the Supreme Court in October due to a recent revelation that she had worked on an earlier version of the case while serving in the Obama administration.

This marks the third term in a row in which a justice has heard arguments in a case and then later realized he or she had a conflict that by law required a recusal.

This is embarrassing. But there’s a solution.

Sign the petition below to tell the justices they should adopt the uniform, software-based conflict-check system that’s currently used by all non-SCOTUS federal judges — and may lower the frequency of these of mistakes.
The Justices Keep Forgetting About Their Conflicts of Interest