As with ProPublica’s recent smear of Clarence Thomas, there’s a lot of excitement across the left-wing Twittersphere over a Politico hit on Neil Gorsuch. But even as a transparent piece of partisan propaganda, it is poorly conceived.
Politico kicks off the piece, “Law firm head bought Gorsuch-owned property,” with a purposefully deceptive claim: “For nearly two years beginning in 2015, Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch sought a buyer for a 40-acre tract of property he co-owned in rural Granby, Colo.”
No. For nearly two years before he was even nominated as a Supreme Court justice, a group that included Gorsuch tried to sell a Colorado property they owned together since 2005. And nine days after Gorsuch was confirmed, but before he ruled on any cases, the property was sold to a lawyer who runs Colorado’s biggest law firm. Gorsuch netted between $250,000 and $500,000 on the sale.
The reason Politico’s Heidi Przybyla is aware of Gorsuch’s supersecret arrangement is that it’s listed right there on his publicly available federal disclosure form from 2017 alongside every other income — stock sales, etc.
Yet, one of Politico’s central insinuations is that Gorsuch was trying to conceal this transaction because he “did not report the identity of the purchaser.” And it’s true that the nominee didn’t fill out the “Identity of buyer/seller” column for the estate transaction — or, for that matter, on any other income. I went back and looked at all the disclosure forms of Supreme Court justices in 2017, and none of them made a single notation in that column for any transaction. And, as far as I can tell, that line has never seen as much as a scribble from any justice in any year. Politico is holding Gorsuch to a completely new standard.
The piece also goes on to claim that Gorsuch “didn’t indicate that there had been a real estate sale or a purchaser.” This is just false. On the very first page of the disclosure, Gorsuch notes that he was a member of the “Walden Group, LLC,” right next to the words “mountain property.” On the next page, he lists the specifics.
The other central accusation of the piece is that the sale of the property created a conflict of interest for Gorsuch. But the lawyer who bought the property, Brian Duffy, says he’s never met or spoken to Gorsuch. And Politico offers no evidence to the contrary. Nor does Politico offer evidence that Gorsuch has ever deviated from his long-held legal philosophy to help anyone at Duffy’s huge law firm, Greenberg Traurig. (Duffy, incidentally, sends most of his contributions to Democrats — including Raphael Warnock, Hillary Clinton, Chuck Schumer and Barack Obama.)
It takes only a few paragraphs to figure out that Gorsuch broke no law and did nothing that a good-faith observer could deem unethical. So, the piece, much like the coverage of Thomas’ friendship with Harlan Crow, tries to cover up its lack of substantiation with a veneer of vaguely journalistic-sounding verbiage. Przybyla then gives the floor to Dick Durbin and other left-wing anti-court activists, as one does when writing an unbiased piece insinuating that a Supreme Court is corrupt. “Without decisive action, the conservatives on the Supreme Court will forever tarnish its reputation in our public life,” one of these activists explains.
Elena Kagan, who served as Obama’s solicitor general, had no problem participating in a case upholding Obamacare. But Gorsuch once associated with characters that Przybyla finds unsavory. “Gorsuch’s ties to the oil and gas industry run deep,” Przybyla reminds the reader (which is bad, in case there is confusion).
To bolster allusions of impropriety, Politico links to a similarly weak New York Times article from 2017, “Neil Gorsuch Has Web of Ties to Secretive Billionaire.” The shadowy tycoon in question is Philip Anschutz, whose name adorns medical facilities and buildings and museums across the state because he is known to basically everyone in Colorado. Anyway, years ago, Gorsuch worked with Anschutz, who in turn championed the fellow Coloradoan for a court during the Bush years. And because Gorsuch made money with people connected to Anschutz in the private sector, it means ...
I don’t know what it means. And it doesn’t really matter. These hits are chum for partisans to swarm around. The only thing that matters is creating the perception that “conservative” justices — as if that explains Gorsuch’s legal philosophy — are corrupt. How else could they possibly believe those wacky originalist ideas, anyway? It’s all part of a concerted effort to delegitimize a Supreme Court that still occasionally upholds a semblance of constitutional limits on the state, the one thing still standing in the way of progressive project.
David Harsanyi is a senior editor at The Federalist. Harsanyi is a nationally syndicated columnist and author of five books, the most recent, “Eurotrash: Why America Must Reject the Failed Ideas of a Dying Continent.” His work has appeared in National Review, the Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, Reason, New York Post and numerous other publications. Follow him on Twitter @davidharsanyi.
As a proud Republican my hat is off to Mr. Harsany for highlighting two very important issues.
1️⃣First of all, none of our Republican Supreme Court Justices have broken the law.
How could they when there is no law governing their activities in the first place? Which is the way it should be when you reach the highest court in the land.
What don’t the whining Democrats understand about “highest court in the land“? It’s obvious this makes them ABOVE the law.
Also, 2️⃣receiving money from people who are going to be appearing before the court is perfectly fine as long as you don’t talk to them.
This certainly doesn’t have the appearance of impropriety; not when you consider that the Justices now under unfair scrutiny, Thomas, Gorsuch, and Roberts are so far from being influenced by their financial good fortune that they don’t even remember the source of their largess long enough to report it.
And I rejoice along with Mr Harsany that our Supreme Court Justices are finding ways to scrape together a meager living despite being paid a mere pittance for their selfless service.
This is a serious issue! And it’s a dire threat to Justice in America!
Mr. Harsany would do well to suggest other ways to augment our Justices’ standard of living, before the respect for the Highest Court in the Land sinks even lower than the current 25%.
Which is still higher than scabies or tooth decay, but the downward trend really is concerning.
Yet there is light at the end of the tunnel if we’ll just join Mr. Harsany and face it squarely.
I’ve already explained why the kerfuffle over Justice Thomas’ unreported financial dealings with his best friend, Harlan Crow (who only coincidentally had cases before the Court) is NO BIG DEAL!
In fact, Justice Thomas’ desperate need for cash is exhibit A in this National Embarrassment!
And think about it. The Supreme Court Justices make only $264,600 a year! The Chief Justice doesn’t make much more at $277,700!
They could make SO much more in the private sector if they hadn’t dedicated their lives to overturning settled law.
Even their clerks do a lot better. After a year of service at the court, clerks are routinely offered signing bonuses of $400,000 from law firms, on top of healthy salaries!
So you see the problem.
Fortunately we’re learning that Justice Thomas isn’t the only one who’s figured a way around the unconscionable privation of America’s most selfless and dedicated public servants.
Jane Roberts, who is married to Chief Justice John Roberts, was paid more than $10 million by a number of elite law firms.
Cynics are saying this doesn’t pass the smell test since at least one of those firms argued a case before Chief Justice Roberts after paying his wife hundreds of thousands of dollars.
But so what? This just proves my point. Many of us have had to send the little wifey out to get a job when Daddy’s paycheck doesn’t quite cover everything.
And to his credit the rookie Court Justice Neil Gorsuch - immediately upon landing his new job - was quick to recognize how things work at the highest court in the land.
Just days after his confirmation, Justice Gorsuch sold a property to a certain Mr. Brian Duffy.
Talk about enterprising initiative! What a self-starter‼️
Of course as a rookie, there’s no way Gorsuch could have known that Duffy is the chief executive of Greenberg Traurig, one of the nation’s biggest law firms with a regular practice before the High Court.
Even so, unlike Justice Thomas, Gorsuch DID report his gain of between $250,000 and $500,000 for the sale of his property.
Such an inspiration‼️ 🥲
On those occasions when members of our highest court decide to obey the same laws we do, it always makes me feel warm and fuzzy‼️🥰
Unfortunately, Gorsuch made a simple oversight in his disclosure. Inexplicably, he left the name of the buyer blank.
And in an embarrassing, but completely innocent coincidence, Gorsuch only learned later that Duffy’s law firm, Greenberg Traurig, has been involved in at least 22 cases presented to the court.
But how could he have known? He’d only been on the job for a few days!
But of course, the America-hating Democrats are making a big deal of this. Conflict of interest they're saying.
But this doesn’t conflict with our interests. Why do you think Mitch McConnel went to all that trouble to staff the Court with our folks?
Besides, if Democrats REALLY wanted to solve this problem they could just propose legislation to at least TRIPLE the Justices’ salaries.
And if Democrats are sincere, they’ll do it before we refuse to raise the debt ceiling and default.
After that all bets are off. On everything.
The growing the respect and sympathy for our Republican Supreme Court is the path to victory in 2024‼️
Mr. Harsany, your challenge as Supreme Court Apologist just got a bit more difficult.😏
*️⃣Clarence Thomas Had a Child in Private School. Harlan Crow Paid the Tuition.*️⃣
How much longer do you suppose respect for the Supreme Court will poll higher than scabies or tooth decay (as Voice for VoiceforAll puts it)?
Oh, boy‼️ It was a rough day for Supreme Court apologist, David Harsani at Creators.com.
He has another Creators.com challenge defending the Republicans’ Supreme Court:
“Conservative judicial activist Leonard Leo arranged for the wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas to be paid tens of thousands of dollars for consulting work just over a decade ago.
He clearly specified that her name was to be left off billing paperwork, according to documents reviewed by The Washington Post.
In January 2012, Leo instructed the GOP pollster Kellyanne Conway to bill a nonprofit group he advises and use that money to pay Virginia “Ginni” Thomas, the documents show.
The same year, the nonprofit, the Judicial Education Project (coincidentally no doubt), filed a brief to the Supreme Court in a landmark voting rights case.
The “hits just keep on comin’,” as Re-electBiden/VoiceforAll/ProjectTruth likes to say…
That’s probably not the end of it. More “hits” to come, likely.
Welcome to the discussion.
Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
PLEASE TURN OFF YOUR CAPS LOCK.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.