How to end Supreme Court rot

Episode 122 with Corey Robin

Apr 28, 2023

Corey Robin wrote the book on Clarence Thomas and judicial corruption — literally. So we’re thrilled to have him on the pod this week to break down the scandal surrounding the Supreme Court justice lately, taking us through the larger narrative of money in politics, the influence of right-wing billionaires, and why the story is bigger than “corruption.” Watch below:

Thomas isn’t the only member of the Supreme Court to become embroiled in a corruption scandal lately. In case you missed it, he received decades’ worth of gifts from a right-wing billionaire and GOP donor, Harlan Crow, failing to disclose any of these gifts as law requires him to do. The former head of the Office of Government Ethics has observed that Thomas is being held to a radically different standard of conduct than the one that millions of lower-level federal workers are held to. For the wealthy and powerful, of course, the rules of the game are different — and they make it much easier to benefit.

Other Supreme Court justices are benefiting, too. Reporting out of Business Insider just today shows that Jane Roberts, wife of Chief Justice John Roberts, took in $10.3 million over the course of eight years for connecting top lawyers with firms and corporations. (And, as TNR reports, Congress has known about it for months — but we’re just finding out about it now.) Then there’s a story from earlier this week in Politico about the chief executive of a top law firm buying property co-owned by Neil Gorsuch nine days after Gorsuch’s confirmation to the Supreme Court. Politico also reports that since the purchase, the law firm, Greenberg Taurig, has interacted with Supreme Court cases twenty-two times.

It’s a bleak picture of the state of our judicial system, bought and paid for with corporate and billionaire dollars. What do we do with that picture, and how does it come together? How can we change it? We’re digging into these questions with insightful political scientist and writer Corey Robin, and we’re grateful to you for subscribing to support our work. We hope you enjoy the episode — it’ll be available as a podcast tomorrow on Spotify, Substack, Apple Podcasts, Pandora, and more.

Categories: Law/Justice

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