Ketanji Brown Jackson slapped with ethics complaint over husband’s income

FIRST ON FOX – A conservative policy group has filed an ethics complaint against Supreme Court Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson for “willfully” omitting required income disclosures for years while serving on the federal bench.

The Center for Renewing America, 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 regarding her husband’s malpractice consulting income for over a decade.

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 “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.”

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Supreme Court Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson (Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images)

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.

On subsequent filings, however, Justice Jackson “repeatedly failed to disclose that her husband received income from medical malpractice consulting fees,” the letter states.

“We know this by Justice Jackson’s own admission in her amended disclosure form for 2020, filed when she was nominated to the Supreme Court, that ‘some of my previously filed reports inadvertently omitted’ her husband’s income from ‘consulting on medical malpractice cases,’” the letter says.

Vought says in the letter that “Jackson has not even attempted to list the years for which her previously filed disclosures omitted her husband’s consulting income. Instead, in her admission of omissions on her 2020 amended disclosure form (filed in 2022), Justice Jackson provided only the vague statement that ‘some’ of those past disclosures contained material omissions.”

Vought, who headed up the Office of Management and Budget under President Trump, argues that her Dr. Jackson’s income does not qualify for the “self-employment” exception. The Ethics in Government Act of 1978 (EIGA) requires Justice Jackson to identify the “source of items of earned income earned by a spouse from any person which exceeds $1,000.”

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Supreme Court nominee Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson listens during her confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee Monday, March 21, 2022, on Capitol Hill in Washington.  (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

The former OMB chief argues that since Jackson was aware of the requirements in 2012 enough to list the specific sources of income for her first disclosure filing, but not in subsequent filings apart from admitting that she left off some of her husband’s income, her actions amount to “willful” violation of the law.

The letter also claims there is reason to believe 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. 

Following her appointment to the Supreme Court in 2022, the Library of Congress hosted a massive event in her honor featuring performances by several musicians and groups, including the Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Quartet and civil rights movement Freedom Singer Rutha Mae Harris.

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Justice and Doctor Jackson

Ketanji Brown Jackson, associate justice of the US Supreme Court, and husband Patrick Jackson on the front plaza of the Supreme Court building following an investiture ceremony in Washington, D.C., US, on Friday, Sept. 30, 2022. The justices return on Oct. 3 for their next nine-month term, that is scripted to fulfill more conservative wish-list items that will exacerbate the nations political and cultural divides.  (Getty)

It’s unclear who paid for the event. EIGA requires that any gift “received over $415,” to be disclosed. EIGA defines “gift” as “a payment, advance, forbearance, rendering, or deposit of money, or any thing of value.”

Jackson’s disclosure for that year includes flowers from Oprah Winfrey with a $1,200 price tag, and a designer jacket from her Vogue photoshoot costing $6,580.

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“Justice Jackson thus cannot claim ignorance of EIGA’s gift disclosure requirements, and there is no serious argument that this ‘massive event featuring performances by several musicians and groups’ celebrating her investiture is not a ‘thing of value,’” argues Vought.

Vought says that Jackson’s “disturbing trend of not reporting material sources of income and gifts” has “shielded potential conflicts of interest from public scrutiny and undermined the ability of the public, outside watchdog groups, and parties to scrutinize her recusal decisions.”

Fox News Digital reached out to the Supreme Court’s public information office but did not receive an immediate response.

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