As cries for stricter ethics requirements for judges grow louder, scrutiny of Supreme Court justices’ trips to campuses has reportedly increasingly focused attention on the court’s left wing.
The Associated Press published bombshell investigative reporting on Tuesday that showed how schools courted donors to attend the events, allowed meetings between justices and elected officials, and gave the justices opportunities to indulge in luxury in locations like Hawaii and Europe in exchange for agreeing to take on fewer teaching responsibilities.
The audit discovered that the trips were made by justices of different political persuasions, most notably allegations that Justice Sonia Sotomayor’s staff pressured colleges to buy her books when she visited their universities.
While speaking engagements by justices at universities are nothing new, in recent years reports about rich campaigners’ attempts to buy access have brought increased scrutiny to their trips.
The probe also comes as Senate Democrats seem ready to advance a Supreme Court ethics reform.
They restarted their campaign in the wake of ProPublica’s recent exposé on vacations that Justices Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito took from billionaires and significant political contributors without disclosing their acceptance.
Given that recent attention has focused primarily on Thomas and Alito, two of the court’s prominent conservatives, Republicans have derided the request for the justices to adopt a strict code of ethics, painting it as an effort to topple the conservative majority.
Claims that will only grow louder as potentially more evidence of allegedly liberal malfeasance becomes public.