Supreme Court justices continue to rack up trips on private interest dime

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(Supreme Court in Washington, DC, June 15, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / JIM WATSON (Photo credit should read JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)

Supreme Court justices continue to take trips across the globe on the dime of private individuals and other entities, raising questions about whether those sponsoring the trips could have influence over those serving on the high court.

The Supreme Court’s nine justices disclosed taking a combined 64 trips in 2018 in which various aspects such as transportation, food and lodging were reimbursed by others, according to annual financial disclosures released Thursday by the Office of Government Ethics.

Since 2004, when no deposit bonus forex first began tracking Supreme Court financial disclosure data, justices have disclosed taking 1,306 trips reimbursed by others.

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg disclosed taking more trips than any other justice in 2018, totaling 14. She visited Tel Aviv, Israel where she was awarded a lifetime achievement award by the Genesis Prize Foundation. Shortly following the award ceremony, she disclosed being provided transportation, food and lodging as a tourist and guest of billionaire Israeli businessman Morris Kahn.

Kahn has had business before the Supreme Court before. The high court handed Kahn’s company Amdocs Limited a win in November 2017 when it declined to take up a patent-related case.

The financial disclosures, which also reveal investments and other sources of income, offer vague information about reimbursements and gifts given to justices. They don’t include any estimated monetary value of the services provided, making it difficult to ascertain how much influence third parties could be garnering.

“Once again, the justices took dozens of trips across the country and around the world last year in which a third party paid for their dining, airfare and accommodations, with the public left in the dark about how lavish these trips may have been,” Gabe Roth, executive director of Fix the Court, an organization that aims to bring increased transparency to the Supreme Court, said in a statement on the disclosures.

Justice Stephen Breyer disclosed a dozen trips, three of which were supported by the wealthy Chicago-based Pritzker family. Breyer took two trips related to his position on the Pritzker Prize for Architecture jury, which honors architects each year. Breyer has served on the Pritzker jury since 2011 and became chair in 2018. He also disclosed taking a one-week trip to Ireland and Spain as part of the “Pritzker Fly-Around Program,” which paid for his transportation, lodging and meals. Breyer has taken 219 reimbursed trips since 2004, more than any other sitting justice.

Justice Samuel Alito disclosed six trips, including trips to Rome, Italy and Zurich, Switzerland for university conferences. Disclosing 13 trips, Justice Sonia Sotomayor traveled to a number of universities for award ceremonies and conferences. Among her seven disclosed trips, Justice Elena Kagan gave a number of speeches at universities.

New Justices Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh each disclosed four trips. Gorsuch took a trip to Padua, Italy as part of a George Mason University educational program. He was the only justice to report a gift — a watercolor painting by Appeals Court Judge Terrence O’Brien valued at $1,000. Three of Kavanaugh’s trips were related to Federalist Society events.

Clarence Thomas took two paid-for trips, including one to the Texas chapter of the Federalist Society in Fort Worth, Texas. Chief Justice John Roberts also took two trips, during one of which he gave a lecture at the University of Minnesota Law School.

Check out no deposit bonus forex’ list of Supreme Court justice trips, dating back to 2004.

For more information about the justices’ reimbursements, gifts and finances, check out their 2019 financial disclosures:

  • Samuel Alito
  • Stephen Breyer
  • Ruth Bader Ginsburg
  • Neil Gorsuch
  • Elena Kagan
  • Brett Kavanaugh
  • John Roberts
  • Sonia Sotomayor
  • Clarence Thomas

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