Ginsburg Admits Errors, Amends Financial Disclosure

By Murray, Frank J. | The Washington Times (Washington, DC), June 2, 1998 | Go to article overview
Save to active project

Ginsburg Admits Errors, Amends Financial Disclosure

Murray, Frank J., The Washington Times (Washington, DC)

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg admitted errors and amended her latest financial disclosure yesterday after The Washington Times asked why she denied judging two 1997 cases in which her husband had a financial interest.

In yesterday's statement, she concedes her husband's stock interest constituted the kind of "financial interest of my spouse" that other justices avoid by recusal from cases involving those firms.

She said the mistake in voting was discovered in July 1997 but does not explain why she certified on May 1 they did not happen.

The justice's letter to Ralph Mecham, director of the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts, effectively nullified her certified denial on the annual financial report released last Tuesday.

There is disagreement whether Supreme Court justices are strictly bound by zero-tolerance conflict of interest rules that apply to lower-court colleagues, but they sign a certification they have not done so under a law that provides criminal and civil sanctions.

Mr. Mecham's spokesman, Charles Connor, said yesterday such "self-initiated corrections" are routinely accepted without penalty. There have been 73 on this year's disclosure forms and 128 last year. He could not say whether any involved inaccurate certifications of judges voting with a financial interest.

Justice Ginsburg conceded she did not excuse herself from cases involving Exxon and General Electric Co. while her husband held their stock. Since disclosure forms offer only the range of investment values, Martin D. Ginsburg's holdings in those two companies can only be estimated as between $30,000 and $100,000.

"I was not marked recused in any case in the first half of 1997 because, prior to July, I was not aware that my spouse might be considered to have a financial interest in any public company," Justice Ginsburg said in a document titled "addendum to final disclosure report for calendar year 1997." She said she learned in July that she had a conflict.

Exxon won in conference because fewer than four justices voted to hear the federal government's appeal of a lower court ruling. Only another justice can know if Justice Ginsburg's actions in the secret conference were critical.

GE was the petitioner in its case and did get the necessary four votes in conference, then won a 9-0 ruling on the merits after the Ginsburg investment had been sold.

A source said the justice apparently forgot how last summer's flap over the family stocks would affect votes earlier in the same year.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Cite this article

Cited article

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited article

Ginsburg Admits Errors, Amends Financial Disclosure


Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?