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Erin Schaff/The New York Times via AP, Pool
In recent weeks, Democrats have ramped up criticism of conservative Supreme Court justices like Clarence Thomas and Neil Gorsuch, alleging corruption and using that as a pretext for congressional oversight of the court.
However, these accusations are baseless and lack legal or ethical standing. Justice Thomas was accused of not reporting free travel expenses received from a friend that he was not even required to report and a minor technical error in income reporting. Justice Gorsuch was accused of selling land to an executive of a law firm that had business before the Supreme Court, but he actually sold the property just after being confirmed, and the buyer had no business before the court at the time.
While these incidents were much ado about nothing, the same Democrats who were calling for DOJ investigations and impeachments will no doubt sing a different tune over the revelation that liberal Justice Sonia Sotomayor took $3.6 million from Penguin Random House publishing when the company did have business before the court, and declined to recuse herself.
In addition to the $3.6 million advance (which Penguin Random House lost money on), the Daily Wire found that Sotomayor received payments from the company annually from 2017 to 2021, totaling over $500,000. In 2013, she voted in a decision regarding a case involving Random House despite then-fellow Justice Stephen Breyer recusing himself after receiving money from the publisher. In 2020, Sotomayor received a $10,586 check from Penguin Random House on the same day a lawsuit against the publisher appeared before the Supreme Court. The Court voted not to hear the case in February 2020, and Sotomayor received her largest-ever payment from the publisher in May of that year.
While the media has been busy attacking conservative justices for supposed financial misconduct, including failure to disclose free travel, it turns out that Justice Sotomayor herself failed to disclose six trips funded by outside groups in 2016—without being targeted by the media or enduring the wrath of outraged Democrats.
If Democrats want to prove their attacks on Thomas and Gorsuch are sincere, and that the need for congressional oversight of the Supreme Court is genuine, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y) should be calling for the impeachment of Sotomayor, as she did for Thomas. Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) should be calling for the Department of Justice to investigate Sotomayor, as he did for Thomas.
But you know as well as I do that they won’t. The attacks on Thomas and Gorsuch had nothing to do with ethics or corruption, but politics. They’re angry that the court doesn’t vote how they want, and they’re trying to force conservative justices out.