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SCOTUS News You Can Use

Between the election, the health of Justice Ginsburg and Act II of the slow-rolling Saturday Night Massacre plié-ing into the Kavanaugh investiture, you may have missed some other high court hijinks, highlighted by your friends at Fix the Court. Here’s a quick roundup:

The 411 on the conflicts

  • We found that Chief Justice Roberts missed another statutory stock conflict, as Time-Warner, whose shares the Chief owns, merged with AT&T on June 18, yet he still sat on an AT&T cert. determination on June 14. In other news, we know he still owns Charter Communications (line 128), as well, from today’s recusal in a Time Warner Cable order (Charter and TWC also merged but are separate from AT&T-TW).

  • Roberts should have done what Justice Alito recently did with his Merck stock on Oct. 26 and sell it. Since FTC started up four years ago, the justices have gone from owning shares in roughly 76 companies to 43 companies – “roughly” since stock numbers are only official on Dec. 31 of each year.

  • Speaking of stock ownership, FTC researchers have nearly completed our latest amicus report, which shows how the justices often side with companies whose shares they own in cases where those companies file an amicus brief. Here is the first amicus report we did in 2015.

What’s up with broadcast?

  • FTC asked for live audio for the Kavanaugh investiture and got no audio whatsoever, just the transcript; stay tuned for the SCOTUS Toons version later this week.

  • Speaking of audio, the bipartisan bill that would mandate live audio at SCOTUS, live video for circuit courts, a new code of conduct and recusal explanations at SCOTUS and, in 2021, 52 new district judgeships may yet reach the House floor before the end of the year, aided by our partners’ efforts and the fact that that the lead sponsors – Reps. Issa, Smith, Goodlatte – are retiring.

The (ethical) remains of the day

  • Today is the deadline for commenting on the proposed post-Kozinski changes to the judiciary’s Code of Conduct and JC&D rules. FTC’s submission, which applauds the effort vs. what the other branches have done but wants new legislation to codify victim-focused reforms, is here.

  • Feel free to ask your contacts on the Hill if there’s movement to remove Steve King as ranking member of the HJC Subcommittee on the Constitution in the 116th Congress. FTC would support that, as it’s not partisan to be anti-bigotry.

Other news

  • FTC’s Gabe Roth will present at the Common Cause- and Democracy Initiative-sponsored “Blueprint for a Great Democracy” conference on Nov. 28 in D.C. on how to maintain confidence in the rule of law. Turns out, that’s no so easy these days. Hope to see you then!

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