March 22, 2023

FINANCIAL IRRESPONSIBILITY: Supreme Court hid big money payments in leak probe

FINANCIAL IRRESPONSIBILITY: Supreme Court hid big money payments in leak probe

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The Supreme Court is continuing its downward slide into the Republican abyss amid revelations it paid huge sums to former Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff in the high court’s investigation into the leak of Justice Samuel Alito’s Roe v. Wade opinion.

“The court in recent years has privately contracted with the Chertoff Group for security assessments,” CNN reported.

Though exact payments to Chertoff haven’t been revealed, it’s estimated that SCOTUS paid a high price for several months of consultations.

The $1 million price tag included a review of the current Justices’ homes.

The secretive deal with Chertoff has raised questions from government watchdog groups like the Project on Government Oversight.

“It’s at least a valid question why they went to someone who had a relationship with the court,” senior policy analyst, Sean Moulton, told CNN.

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SCOTUS has been tight-lipped when it comes to potential conflicts of interest or violations of ethics rules.

The former appeals court judge reportedly has a long history with the Court and Chief Justice John Roberts (R).

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Both Roberts and Chertoff served as clerks on the 2nd U.S. Circuit of Appeals – and later for the Supreme Court.

While Roberts clerked for the conservative former Justice William Rehnquist, Chertoff clerked for the left-leaning Justice William Brennan.

Justice Alito’s time on the 3rd Circuit of Appeals would be joined by Chertoff in 2003.

Appointed by Bush, the longtime conservative was appointed by former President George W. Bush to lead the Department of Homeland Security.

Justices Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh worked in the Bush Administration alongside the former Secretary.

The consultant gave the green light to the probe into who pre-emptively leaked Justice Alito’s draft opinion in the highly controversial Dobb’s case.

The investigation helmed by Supreme Court Marshall Gail Curley failed to identify the source of the breach despite nearly 200 interviews with 97 staff members.

Chertoff released a one-page statement with the SCOTUS report, asserting that Curley did a thorough investigation despite the lack of conclusive results.

The high-priced consultant wrote that he was asked by Chief Justice Roberts to review the investigation into the leak and to determine its thoroughness.

The Court agreed with Chertoff’s findings.

The Justices hired the former DHS Secretary’s firm roughly four years ago in an attempt to ramp up police security for the members of the Court.

Out of a $140 million budget, SCOTUS requested nearly $7 million for security upgrades.

That the Supreme Court hid details of its previous and ongoing financial relationship with Chertoff Group a secret, adds to growing criticism of the lack of transparency in today’s hyper-partisan climate.

But Chertoff disagrees.

“Throughout my review, the investigators were transparent, cooperative, and available to answer any questions about the process,” he said. “At this time, I cannot identify any additional useful investigative measures.”

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Perhaps deposing the Supreme Court Justices under oath, and having them sign legally binding affidavits would have been a start.

Yet, here we are.

Original reporting by Joan Biskupic at CNN.

Follow Ty Ross on Twitter @cooltxchick


Ty Ross

News journalist for Washington Press and Occupy Democrats.

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