To Preserve the Integrity and Independence of the Judiciary, Constitutional Lawyers, Scholars, and Public Interest Groups Call on Justice Gorsuch Not to Speak at the Trump International Hotel
“By lending the prestige of his status and position to the political and financial benefit of Donald Trump, Justice Gorsuch will damage the Court’s integrity, impartiality and legitimacy, and will cast a shadow over any Supreme Court decision in which he participates involving Donald Trump or the Trump Administration.”
Ben Clements, Board Chair of Free Speech For People
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Days before Justice Gorsuch is to deliver a speech at the Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C., a coalition of constitutional lawyers, scholars, and public interest groups re-issued an open letter urging him to cancel his speech due to conflicts of interest with appearing at a hotel owned, through LLCs and a revocable trust, by President Trump.
The letter cites Canon 1 of the Code of Conduct for United States Judges that states a judge should “maintain and enforce high standards of conduct and should personally observe those standards, so that the integrity and independence of the judiciary may be preserved.” The letter also cites the Supreme Court’s recent ruling in Williams-Yulee v. Florida Bar where the Court recognized a compelling interest in “preserving public confidence in the integrity of the judiciary.”
The letter goes on to detail six ethical conflicts that risk undermining public confidence in the integrity and independence of the Court. These conflicts include: the appearance that Justice Gorsuch is endorsing Presidents Trump’s re-election campaign; the likelihood that a case involving the hotel could reach the Supreme Court, as the hotel is currently the subject of three federal lawsuits involving the Constitution’s Foreign and Domestic Emoluments Clauses; the appearance that Justice Gorsuch has resolved all the legal and ethical concerns associated with the hotel which could in turn lead to the hotel gaining more business from foreign governments, resulting in what could later come before the Court as additional foreign emoluments; the appearance that Justice Gorsuch’s approves of Trump’s for-profit presidency, of which the hotel has become one of the foremost symbols; the appearance of an improper relationship between Justice Gorsuch and the President that undermines judicial independence; the appearance that Justice Gorsuch does not find problematic President Trump’s recent inflammatory statements after the tragedy in Charlottesville, Virginia, whereby the President gave aid and comfort to white supremacists and neo-Nazis.
Read the full letter, here.
The letter was signed by Free Speech For People, Every Voice, The Rootstrikers Project at Demand Progress, Money Out Voters In, Center for Biological Diversity, Norm Ornstein, and Sarah Chayes.
Download the Press Release, here.