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Who Is Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts’ Wife? Jane Sullivan’s Work Raises Ethics Concerns

KEY POINTS

  • The letter was submitted to Congress and Justice Department last month
  • Kendal Price who had worked at a legal recruitment firm with the chief justice’s wife raised the concern
  • Sullivan had quit her job as a law firm partner to avoid conflict of interest

The professional background of Jane Sullivan, the wife of U. This may interest you : Paula Abdul Gets Breast Revision Surgery After Experiencing Back Pain Due To Implants For Years.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts, has come under scrutiny for potential conflict of interests–a concern that was raised by her former colleague Kendal Price.

Price and Sullivan had worked together as legal recruiters for Maryland-based firm Major, Lindsey & Africa in the past.

Attorney Price, in a letter to the Justice Department and Congress, indicated Roberts’ wife had pocketed millions in commissions between 2007 and 2014 for recruiting jobhunters at law firms, including those that have cases before the Supreme Court, the New York Times reported.

Price has requested an inquiry, arguing justices should be required to detail their spouses’ earnings in financial disclosures.

Roberts has held the chief justice position since 2005.

Who is Jane Sullivan?

Roberts had married Sullivan in July 1996. The pair is parents to 23-year-old daughter Josie and 22-year-old son Jack. Sullivan gave up her position as a law firm partner after Roberts became chief justice, and began working as a legal recruiter to avoid a potential conflict of interest.

Sullivan is currently the managing director of legal recruiting firm Macrae Inc.’s Washington office. The Georgetown University Law Center alumnus had worked for Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman for 20 years, before changing career and becoming a recruiter.

In the letter obtained by the New York Times, Price mentioned the recruitment of Kenneth Salazar, who was the interior secretary under President Barack Obama, to WilmerHale in 2013. The global firm has reportedly argued more than 125 cases at the Supreme court, according to their website. Salazar is currently the U.S. ambassador to Mexico.

In related news, Salazar disclosed earning more than $3.84 million in partnership in 2020. The disclosure was made in July 2021 as part of his nomination to serve as the Mexico ambassador by the Biden administration.

The New York Times report further stated the chief justice has never excused himself from a case because of Sullivan. He hasn’t disclosed her clients or earnings on financial disclosures.

In his letter, Price stated, “I do believe that litigants in U.S. courts, and especially the Supreme Court, deserve to know if their judges’ households are receiving six-figure payments from the law firms.”

Price claimed the justice’s decision to exclude the commissions on disclosures is deceiving, and argued commissions “depend on cultivating and capitalizing on relationships in order to consummate particular deals.”

Sullivan had said in 2019 that she refrained from dealing with any matters that had a connection to her husband’s work, while avoiding working with lawyers who had cases in the Supreme Court.

Neither Sullivan or her husband has reacted to Price’s allegations.

Ethics experts are divided over the conflict of interest claim. Amanda Frost, a law professor at University of Virginia, said spouses of judicial officials can have a career of their choice and that the chief justice was not required to excuse himself from a case on account of his wife’s dealings with law firms.

“It feels hard to imagine how this would corrupt his vote,” she said, according to The Times.

However, Bennett L. Gershman, a law professor at Pace University said that the concerns raised by Price along with Roberts’ non-disclosure of Sullivan’s commissions, “threaten the public’s trust in the federal judiciary, and the Supreme Court itself.”

Representation Image — Chief Justice John G. Roberts administers the Constitutional Oath to Ketanji Brown Jackson, while her husband Patrick Jackson holds the Bible at the Supreme Court on June 30, 2022
US Supreme Court via AFP / Handout