Judge Jackson brings back flowers from Oprah, designer clothes as Thomas delays disclosure filing

WASHINGTON (AP) — Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson revealed Wednesday that she received a $1,200 congratulatory floral decoration from Oprah Winfrey and $6,580 in designer clothing for a magazine photo shoot during her first months as the first black woman on the Supreme Court.

Details of the gifts given to Jackson were among the reports provided by most court members in their annual filings, which give a partial window into their finances. The reports were released on Wednesday.

But the most anticipated report — that of Judge Clarence Thomas, who has come under scrutiny for receiving undisclosed gifts from a Republican donor — was not among the filings. Thomas, along with Judge Samuel Alito, requested an extension of up to 90 days.

Thomas’ receipt of gifts worth hundreds of thousands of dollars from Republican donor Harlan Crow sparked calls for ethics reform at the nation’s highest court. It wasn’t clear why either needed more time.

Once a year, the judges join other federal judges to provide an overview of their finances. They are expected to disclose paid travel, outside income, investments, significant gifts, and the source of their spouse’s income.

Among Wednesday’s reports, Judge Sonia Sotomayor said she received nearly $150,000 in royalties for two children’s books last year and another $12,000 in payments for possible stage and video versions of ” Just Ask! Be different, be brave, be yourself. The book, aimed at children ages 4 to 8, introduces readers to children facing what Sotomayor, who was diagnosed with diabetes as a child, calls “life challenges”. Sotomayor, the court’s first Latina judge, received more than $3 million in advances and royalties for her books, including her memoir, “My Beloved World.”

Less than two months after Jackson joined the court in late June, she was featured in a Vogue story first published online that took note of her historic role. In an accompanying photo taken by Annie Leibovitz, Jackson wears a blue coat and a dark dress by Oscar de la Renta. A second Leibovitz photo shows Jackson in a brown Aliette jacket.

The report did not specify the size or composition of Winfrey’s expensive gift of flowers.

The judges are paid $285,400 this year, except for Chief Justice John Roberts, who earns $298,500.

Other judges reporting outside income were Amy Coney Barrett, Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh, all of whom brought in nearly $30,000 for law school teaching assignments. Barrett taught at Notre Dame, his former employer and alma mater, while Gorsuch and Kavanaugh were at George Mason University.

The increased focus on ethics at the High Court stems from a series of reports revealing that Thomas received undisclosed expensive gifts for years, including international travel, from Crow, a wealthy businessman and benefactor of conservative causes. Crow also purchased the home in Georgia where Thomas’ mother continues to live and paid for two years of private school tuition for a child raised by Thomas and his wife, Ginni.

Supreme Court justices do not have a binding code of ethics and have resisted adopting one or having one imposed by Congress. All nine justices recently signed an ethics statement that Roberts provided to the Senate Judiciary Committee. Roberts recently acknowledged that judges can do more to address ethical concerns.

New reporting guidelines adopted by the federal judiciary in March make it clear that transportation provided to judges must be disclosed in all cases. Food, lodging, or entertainment received as “personal hospitality of an individual” need not be reported if it is at the personal residence of that individual or his or her family.

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