The New York Times: “After Chief Justice John Roberts joined the Supreme Court, his wife, Jane Sullivan Roberts, gave up her career as a law firm partner to become a high-end legal recruiter in an effort to alleviate potential conflicts of interest. Jane Roberts later recalled in an interview that her husband’s job made it “awkward to be practicing law in the firm.” Now, a former colleague of Roberts has raised concerns that her recruiting work poses potential ethics issues for the chief justice. Seeking an inquiry, the ex-colleague has provided records to the Justice Department and Congress indicating that Roberts has been paid millions of dollars in commissions for placing lawyers at firms — some of which have business before the Supreme Court, according to a letter obtained by The New York Times. In his letter in December, Kendal Price, a 66-year-old Boston lawyer, argued that the justices should be required to disclose more information about their spouses’ work. He did not cite specific Supreme Court decisions, but said he was worried that a financial relationship with law firms arguing before the court could affect justices’ impartiality or at least give the appearance of doing so. “I do believe that litigants in U.S. courts, and especially the Supreme Court, deserve to know if their judges’ households are receiving six-figure payments from the law firms,” Price wrote.
In a statement, a spokesperson for the Supreme Court, Patricia McCabe, said that all the justices were “attentive to ethical constraints” and complied with financial disclosure laws. The chief justice and his wife had also consulted the code of conduct for federal judges, McCabe said, including a 2009 advisory opinion that a judge “need not recuse merely because” his or her spouse had worked as a recruiter for a law firm with issues before the court…”
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