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Outstanding Fix the Court Requests to the Judiciary, Plus Outstanding FOIA Requests

These will be updated on a rolling basis as we receive answers or documents.

Outstanding FOIAs, in reverse chronological order:

1. To ensure the justices are not leaving certain travel off their disclosures, every time from from Jan. 2018 to Feb. 2023 a Supreme Court justice took an international trip in which they were accompanied by member(s) of the State Department’s Bureau of Diplomatic Security: submitted on Feb. 22, 2023; acknowledged Mar. 1, 2023; “estimate[d] delivery date is Aug. 19, 2024

2. Every time a federal judge asked the U.S. Marshals Service to help them take personally identifiable information off a website between Mar. 2022 and Jan. 2023: submitted on Jan. 29, 2023; acknowledged on Jan. 30, 2023; was told on May 9, 2023, that there up 9,600 responsive pages but no follow-up since; still “in process” as of May 9, 2024

3. Whether SCOTUS reached out to the FBI for assistance in investigating the spring 2022 Dobbs opinion leak and, if so, what was discussed: submitted on Jan. 18, 2023; acknowledged on Mar. 27, 2023; received three pages on Jan. 30, 2024, that had nothing to do with the Dobbs leak and comprise only what the FBI “believes” to be covered by FOIA. That means there might be additional pages out there that discuss the leak, and we’ll only get them, or get confirmation that they don’t exist, via lawsuit, which we’re not prepared to file at this point

4. How much money DOJ is spending to defend judiciary officials in various lawsuits: submitted on Nov. 18, 2022; acknowledged on July 7, 2023; no further follow up (will wait for the decision in Strickland v. U.S. to come down and will resubmit)

5. To ensure the justices are not leaving certain travel off their disclosures, every time from from Jan. 2018 to Sept. 2022 a Supreme Court justice took a domestic trip in which they were accompanied by a deputy U.S. Marshals: submitted and acknowledged on Sept. 23, 2022; filed lawsuit on Jan. 17, 2023; remains in litigation but about 5,000 pages have been produced

6. How much money DOJ paid in PACER fees every year from 2018 to 2022: submitted on Aug. 22, 2022; followed up on Jan. 25, 2024; received a response on Feb. 1

Outstanding requests to SCOTUS, in reverse chronological order:

1. Has the Court hired any staff of late to assist the justices in navigating their ethical obligations? Asked on Apr. 5, 2024; no response

2. How long are the justices being asked to, or are required to, resubmit their financial disclosures when errors are found? FTC found errors on justices’ disclosures as recent as 2019 and as far back as 2000. Asked on Apr. 28, 2023; no response of yet

3. Has the Court considered adopting a policy that several appeals courts approved in 2018 where they can reject an amicus brief if its presence on the docket might raise concerns over impartiality? Submitted on Jan. 31, 2022; was still under consideration last we checked, in Sept. 2022

Outstanding requests to the Judicial Conference and/or the Administrative Office, in reverse chronological order:

1 (to Committee on Financial Disclosure chair). Has the Committee met yet to discuss the Justice Thomas referral and if so, what was discussed? Asked on Jan. 8, 2024; received this response later that day from an AO spokesman: “We don’t discuss the ongoing work of the committee”

2 (to Committee on Judicial Conduct and Disability chair). Should there be a cooling off period between when judges sit on a person’s case and then adjudicate that same person’s complaint either in their role as chief judge or as a member of a judicial council? Submitted on Dec. 6, 2023; followed up on Jan. 24, 2024; no response of yet

3 (to Judge Mauskopf/Judge Conrad and several JCUS committee chairs). Requested that the judiciary look into whether the privately funded seminars that federal judges are attending these days are overly partisan: asked on Aug. 10, 2023; received a response acknowledging receipt on Oct. 2, 2023; FTC followed up Dec. 11, 2023, and Mar. 19, 2024; no response from the AO since

4 (to Committee on Financial Disclosure and Committee on Codes of Conduct chairs). How many years back are lower court judges supposed to go to correct errors on their financial disclosures? (See Q1 for SCOTUS above.) Asked on May 30, 2023; no response of yet

5 (to Committee on Financial Disclosure chair). Can the judiciary change its financial disclosure forms to include more information useful for oversight, namely a few words describing judges’ and justices’ business interests (i.e., more than simply writing “XYZ LLC”); greater detail concerning a gain or loss in a real estate transaction; and the dollar amounts of reimbursements for transportation, lodging and meals: submitted on May 3, 2023; resubmitted Jan. 9, 2024; no response of yet

6. (to Judge Mauskopf/Judge Conrad and Committee on Codes of Conduct chair). Does the Conference and its Codes Committee believe it to be a violation of ethical canons for a judge to handpick his or her successor and/or only agree to retire or take senior status if their favored individual is nominated to their seat. Asked on July 7, 2022; followed up Apr. 5, 2024; no response of yet

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