Legal experts have exposed the flaws in the media’s latest effort to discredit one of the conservative justices on the Supreme Court.
What’s the latest claim about?
Politico alleged apparent ethical violations by Justice Neil Gorsuch Tuesday, claiming he failed to disclose a key detail about a real estate transaction.
Brian Duffy, the CEO of Greenberg Traurig, bought a Colorado property that was owned by Walden Group LLC. Walden Group LLC is a small company in which Gorsuch had a 20% stake.
The financial disclosure form Gorsuch filed in 2017 lists the Walden Group LLC deal, which produced income between $250001 and $50000 for Gorsuch. However, it does not identify Duffy as the buyer. Politico attempted to portray this apparent omission as an improper act by noting Greenberg Traurig’s involvement in approximately two dozen Supreme Court cases since the transaction.
What’s the problem, then?
Many legal experts have slammed the notion that Gorsuch has committed any wrongdoing.
A lawyer described Politico’s article as “worse-than-nonsense” on Twitter because it “skims on the edge of libel, while taking advantage that between half and 90% of its readers would not know why it is BS on stilts.”
Politico, according to this attorney, confused the sale of property with Gorsuch’s disposition of Walden Group LLC whose sole asset was the real estate. Gorsuch would have lied under oath if he had listed Duffy as his purchaser on the financial disclosure form.
“Politico confuses the sale of Walden Group property with Gorsuch’s termination of interest in Walden Group.” Ed Whelan, lawyer at Ed Whelan, said that there was no counterparty on which to report.
Ted Frank, of the Hamilton Lincoln Law Institute, said that “Politico does not understand how LLCs operate and unfairly maligns Gorsuch because of its ignorance — or dishonesty.”
Stephen Gillers is a professor at New York University and a legal ethics expert. He told The New York Times Gorsuch had not broken the law.
David Harsanyi, meanwhile, explained that Politico was trying to hold Gorsuch accountable to a “completely different standard”.
I looked back at all of the disclosure forms for Supreme Court Justices from 2017, and found that none of them had made any notation about a transaction in this column. As far as I know, this line has never had even a single scribble written on it by any justice at any time. Politico holds Gorsuch to an entirely new standard.
What else is there?
The story hinges on the fact that Gorsuch, Duffy and their relationship is non-existent. They have never spoken to each other.
Duffy said to Politico, “I have never spoken with him.” “I’ve never met him.”