(UnitedVoice.com) – A September 2022 Gallup poll indicated a record 58% of Americans disapproved of the Supreme Court’s job performance after a tumultuous year, and only 47% said they fundamentally trust the High Court. The poll reflected Americans’ declining trust in the judicial branch. Now, Jane Sullivan Roberts, Chief Justice John Roberts’ wife, could face Department of Justice (DOJ) and Congressional ethics probes based on complaints leveled by a former colleague.
Kendal Price, a Boston attorney, worked with Jane Roberts at Major, Lindsey & Africa, a high-end recruiting service. He disclosed to the DOJ that Roberts had made millions in commissions through placements of experienced lawyers in DC law firms, some of which litigated before the High Court. Price expressed concerns that the ongoing nature of the recruiter’s relationship with those law firms could pose a conflict of interest or the perception of one. He didn’t cite any specific examples of cases where placements might have swayed decisions. He also encouraged the DOJ to scrutinize Justices’ spouses’ careers more closely.
Jane Roberts, wife of SCOTUS Chief Justice Roberts, has been paid millions of dollars in commissions for placing lawyers at firms — some of which have business before the Supreme Court, according to a letter obtained by @NYTimes. #conflict_of_interests https://t.co/7ASgel16kV pic.twitter.com/ibvTNQrwbO
— Jon Hutson (@JonHutson) February 1, 2023
Jane Roberts, an attorney and partner in Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP, transitioned from practicing law in 2005 due to concerns over potential conflicts of interest. Former President George W. Bush nominated John Roberts as Chief Justice in 2005 after William Rehnquist, his predecessor, died. From there, Jane Roberts focused on recruiting and placement.
In 2013, Major, Lindsey & Africa fired Price. He responded, unsuccessfully suing the company, Jane Roberts, a partner in the firm, and another executive. He disclosed that information to the DOJ together with spreadsheets documenting Jane Roberts’ commissions from 2007 to 2014. The documents did not include the names of her placement clients.
Arguing to the DOJ for greater transparency, Price wrote that he believed High Court litigants “deserve to know if their judges’ households are receiving six-figure payments from the law firms,” according to The New York Times.
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