Justice Neil Gorsuch failed to report a sale of real estate to a CEO with business before the Supreme Court, according to records revealed Tuesday.
According to reports, nine days after Gorsuch was confirmed by the Senate on April 7, 2017, Brian Duffy, the CEO of the law firm Greenberg Traurig, put under contract the 3,000 square foot log home on the Colorado River northwest of Denver.
Duffy and his wife closed on the house a month later, according to the deed, paying $1.825 million. Gorsuch reported on federal disclosure forms that he’d made 20% of the profits from that sale, between $250,000 and $500,000.
Gorsuch did not, however, disclose the identity of Duffy as the buyer, leaving that box on the form blank.
Since then, Duffy’s law firm has been involved in at least 22 cases before or presented to the Supreme Court, according to Politico’s review of the docket.
The news of Gorsuch’s failure to disclose comes as the Supreme Court has fallen under scrutiny by the Senate Judiciary Committee for failures to disclose real estate dealings and luxury vacations between Justice Clarence Thomas and conservative political donor Harlan Crow.
In a letter, Senate Judiciary Chair Dick Durbin (D-IL) invited Chief Justice John Roberts, or “another justice whom you designate,” to appear before the committee and answer its questions about the Supreme Court’s ethics rules on May 2.
“The time has come for a new public conversation on ways to restore confidence in the court’s ethical standards,” Durbin wrote. “I invite you to join it, and I look forward to your response.”
The Supreme Court is virtually the only court in the U.S. that does not adhere to a formal code of ethics.
However, Congress has in the past subjected the Supreme Court—and other, lower courts—to the Ethics in Government Act of 1978, which mandates that public officials and their immediate families publicly disclose financial records and employment histories. It also sets restrictions on lobbying efforts for a period of time after an official leaves public office.
Thomas said he has always sought to comply with disclosure guidelines and said that it is his “intent to follow” new guidance announced in March by the Judicial Conference, which sets policy for the federal judiciary.
Duffy has said that once he learned Gorsuch was among the property’s owners, he cleared the sale with his law firm’s ethics department.
Gorsuch did not respond to Politico’s inquiries about the sale, his disclosures or whether he should have reported Duffy’s identity as the purchaser.