Justice Brown Jackson Hit With Ethics Complaint

[President Biden, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons]

The new favorite liberal on the Supreme Court has been slapped with an ethics complaint. Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson is facing charges of ethics violations following an investigation revealing she did not disclose her husband’s lucrative business as a “consultant.” A surgeon, it appears that her husband has made money acting as a witness for lawyers suing medical professionals for malpractice. 

The Center for Renewing America, a think tank led by former senior Trump White House official Russ Vought, sent a letter to the Judicial Conference with allegations that Jackson “willfully failed to disclose” required information about her husband’s malpractice consulting income for more than a decade, according to a Fox News report.

The letter suggests that the Judicial Conference should refer Jackson’s possible ethics violations to Attorney General Merrick Garland for investigation and possible civil enforcement.

The letter notes that federal judges are legally required to disclose the “source of items of earned income earned by a spouse from any person which exceed $1,000…except…if the spouse is self-employed in business or a profession, only the nature of such business or profession needs be reported.”

As part of her nomination to the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, Jackson disclosed the names of two legal medical malpractice consulting clients who paid her husband, Dr. Patrick Jackson, more than $1,000 for the year 2011, the letter notes.

The complaint also claims, “There is reason to believe that Justice Jackson may have failed to report the private funding sources of her massive investiture celebration at the Library of Congress in her most recent financial disclosure.” 

“Given the need to ensure the equal application of the law and the tendency of these violations to create serious recusal issues and conflicts of interest, the Conference’s prompt attention is of paramount public importance,” the complaint concludes before asking that the complaint be brought up with Merrick Garland.

To be fair to the newest judge on the court, she has struggled with math during her time so far. Following the recent ruling that stated that universities could not be racially biased against Asians, Jackson, in her dissent, claimed that “diversity saves lives” because “for high-risk Black newborns, having a Black physician more than doubles the likelihood that the baby will live.” 

As Ted Frank pointed out in The Wall Street Journal, “A moment’s thought should be enough to realize that this claim is wildly implausible. Imagine if 40% of black newborns died—thousands of dead infants every week. But even so, that’s a 60% survival rate, which is mathematically impossible to double. And the actual survival rate is over 99%.

How could Justice Jackson make such an innumerate mistake? A footnote cites a friend-of-the-court brief by the Association of American Medical Colleges, which makes the same claim in almost identical language. It, in turn, refers to a 2020 study whose lead author is Brad Greenwood, a professor at the George Mason University School of Business.

The study makes no such claims. It examines mortality rates in Florida newborns between 1992 and 2015 and shows a 0.13% to 0.2% improvement in survival rates for black newborns with black pediatricians (though no statistically significant improvement for black obstetricians).”

Justice Jackson has become a favorite of liberals on the court because she has shown a willingness to make her decision regardless of evidence based on partisan affiliation rather than merits. The affirmative action case, as Frank noted, provided a perfect example of this tendency. 

“So we have a Supreme Court justice parroting a mathematically absurd claim coming from an interested party’s mischaracterization of a flawed study. Her opinion then urges “all of us” to “do what evidence and experts tell us is required to level the playing field and march forward together.” Instead we should watch where we’re going.”

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