Posted by Arab American Institute on September 27, 2017 in Blog
(Washington, DC) Today, the Arab American Institute joins 17 rights organizations to ask Supreme Court Justice John Roberts to stand for the integrity of the Court as a neutral and nonpartisan arbiter. At issue is an upcoming appearance by Justice Neil Gorsuch at the Trump Hotel to an organization, The Fund for American Studies (TFAS), tied to anti Muslim groups through mutual funders. Should Justice Gorsuch move forward with his address, rights groups will protest this appearance on September 28 at 11:00 AM.
AAI stands with our community and partner organizations in expressing serious ethical concerns with this appearance for two reasons: the venue and the organizer. As we note in our joint letter, “By specifically choosing to speak at the president’s private hotel, giving prestige to the venue, and encouraging those who respect the Court to attend the event and financially benefit the president, Justice Gorsuch allows his impartiality to be reasonably questioned with respect to cases involving President Trump.” And, given TFAS’ connections to anti-Muslim organizations, it seems an obvious conflict that “Justice Gorsuch will participate in TFAS’ event and hear arguments over the President’s Muslim and refugee ban in Trump v. IRAP” beginning October 5.
We believe these conflicts raise significant questions about Justice Gorsuch’s ability to be impartial and agree with Chief Justice Roberts 2011 prescription that the ethical bounds on lower court judges should be a “starting point and a key source of guidance” for Supreme Court Justices.
“This event does not pass the smell test. In fact, it reeks. While Justices may not be legally bound by federal recusal statues, there is a tradition of recusal when public questions of impartiality arise. And this is a no brainer. Either Justice Gorsuch bows out of speaking at the Trump Hotel or he recuses himself from cases involving President Trump. Anything less will reduce public confidence in the Court. You simply cannot be on the side of enriching the Commander in Chief and still be an impartial arbiter of justice when the President’s policies come under review. That includes policies born out of bigoted campaign promises,” said AAI Executive Director Maya Berry.
Full text of the letter to Chief Justice Roberts is available here: https://d3n8a8pro7vhmx.cloudfront.net/aai/pages/13549/attachments/original/1506464897/RobertsLetterOnGorsuch_17.09.25_.pdf?1506464897
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Founded in 1985, the Arab American Institute (AAI) is a nonprofit organization committed to the civic and political empowerment of Americans of Arab descent. AAI provides policy, research and public affairs services to support a broad range of community activities. For more information please visit aaiusa.org