The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Legal Advocacy Group Urges Chief Justice Roberts to Reprimand Justice Gorsuch For His Speech at Trump International Hotel

Free Speech For People’s open letter to Chief Justice Roberts details ethical conflicts associated with Justice Gorsuch’s speech at a hotel owned by the President of the United States.


Following Justice Gorsuch's speech at the Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C., Free Speech For People issued an open letter to Chief Justice Roberts urging him to issue a letter of reprimand to Justice Gorsuch and to publish an official Court policy on the ethics issues involved with appearing at a venue owned by the president of the United States.

The letter cites Canon 1 of the Code of Conduct for United States Judges, which 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 numerous ethical conflicts. 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; and the appearance that Justice Gorsuch approves of Trump's for-profit presidency, of which the hotel has become one of the foremost symbols.

While Chief Justice Roberts has written that the Code of Conduct for United States Judges "plays the same role" for the Supreme Court as it does for other federal judges, the Code does not directly apply to Supreme Court Justices. The letter urges the Court to adopt its own formal code of conduct that incorporates the requirements of the Code of Conduct for United States Judges.

Read the full letter here.

Free Speech For People is a national non-partisan non-profit organization founded on the day of the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling in Citizens United v. FEC that works to defend our democracy and our Constitution.