Ahead of Justice Neil Gorsuch’s planned speech before a conservative group at President Trump’s downtown hotel, Fix the Court has sent a petition signed by 1,485 people from all 50 states and D.C. to SCOTUS, via clerk Scott Harris, questioning the wisdom of such an appearance and urging Chief Justice John Roberts to clarify the ethics requirements for his colleagues’ public talks.
“Justice Neil Gorsuch is scheduled to address a gathering at Trump International Hotel,” the petition begins, “even as a lawsuit claiming President Trump is illegally profiting off his presidency makes its way through federal court, with the Supreme Court a likely final destination.”
It continues: “Whether or not this case, or other cases in which the President is a litigant, has merit, it appears unethical for a member of the high court to speak at Trump’s D.C. property, and we believe that Chief Justice Roberts has the authority – and the responsibility –to discourage his colleagues from participating in these types of events. We, the undersigned, call on the Chief Justice to delineate clearer ethics rules for the justices’ public appearances.”
“A Trump appointee speaking at a Trump hotel as the court considers a Trump case unnecessarily invites reproach of our sole functioning branch of government and hurts its legitimacy,” FTC executive director Gabe Roth said. “Justices should not only seek out less controversial venues, they should also try to address ideologically diverse groups, as the impact of seeing the country’s leading jurists appear before contrarian audiences would go far beyond whatever words they’d share.”