Ex-Trump attorney: Justices accepting lavish gifts ‘degrades the image of impartiality’

Tim Parlatore, a former attorney for former President Trump, said Friday that he thinks Supreme Court Justices accepting lavish gifts and vacations “degrades the image of impartiality” and called on Congress to act.

Parlatore joined CNN’s Abby Phillip and The Nation’s Elie Mystal to discuss revelations from the justices’ financial disclosure reports released earlier this week.

“I’ve represented several senior executive branch officials with investigations from the Office of Government Ethics,” Parlatore said in the interview, highlighted by Mediaite. “Military officers are only allowed to accept gifts up to $20. NYPD cops, they get written up if they take a free cup of coffee.”

“You know, there are rules in place for federal judges that limit the gift that they can get at $50 but it specifically exempts the Supreme Court,” he added.

The conversation was centered around one justice in particular, Justice Clarence Thomas.

In his latest financial filing, Thomas made an amendment to a 2019 report to include two trips he took that were paid for by billionaire Harlan Crow. The trips were made public after an investigation by ProPublica raised questions about his ability to stay impartial.

Data, released Thursday by watchdog group Fix the Court, found that Supreme Court justices have received nearly $5 million in gifts since 2004 but Thomas accounted for $4 million of that.

The list of gifts comes after Democrats have called on Justice Samuel Alito to recuse himself from cases related to Jan. 6 and Trump currently before the court in light of reports that a “Stop the Steal” flag was flown outside his house after the attack on the Capitol. Alito rejected calls to recuse himself.

It was also revealed Friday that Beyoncé gifted four free concert tickets to Supreme Court Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson last year.

Both recent reports have shown a spotlight on the high court and what, if any, partisan impact they have on the cases they’re hearing.

When the news first came to light, lawmakers have ramped up efforts to overhaul the high court’s ethics codes. While the Supreme Court issued new guidance late last year, it has done little to satisfy Democrats.

In the interview Friday, Parlatore said any time justices are “taking these large gifts,” it is an “appearance of impropriety.”

“It’s something that does, in my opinion, degrades, you know, the image of impartiality,’ he said.

Parlatore also seemingly echoed Democrats’ concerns pressing Congress to act and “try and put in some reasonable regulation.”

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