Another Supreme Court justice bought & paid for

We have the receipts: Neil Gorsuch has a great big conflict of interest.

For nearly two years beginning in 2015, Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch sought a buyer for a 40-acre tract of property he co-owned in rural Granby, Colo.

Nine days after he was confirmed by the Senate for a lifetime appointment on the Supreme Court, the then-circuit court judge got one: The chief executive of Greenberg Traurig, one of the nation’s biggest law firms with a robust practice before the high court. Gorsuch owned the property with two other individuals.

On April 16 of 2017, Greenberg’s Brian Duffy put under contract the 3,000-square foot log home on the Colorado River and nestled in the mountains northwest of Denver, according to real estate records.

It’s not as if this was an attempt to curry favor with a judge presiding over big cases…

Since then, Greenberg Traurig has been involved in at least 22 cases before or presented to the court


I guess when the process for appointing him was corrupt, you can’t expect a mere Supreme Court justice to behave ethically.


  1. Matt G says

    It isn’t just that conservatives are corrupt, conservatism is corrupt. It is a plague on humanity.

  2. robro says

    Interestingly, Gorsuch didn’t side with a Greenberg client every time. Wonder why. A sudden twinge of moral conscience? Conflicting conflicts of interest? He misunderstood his instructions and voted incorrectly? He was soused? All but one of these seems plausible.

  3. wzrd1 says

    Conflicting conflicts of interest.
    Besides, PZ keeps on getting it wrong. They’re decidedly not for sale, they’re only available for rent. Don’t keep up the payments, services are no longer rendered.

  4. robro says

    Akira MacKenzie @3 — “Plausible deniability” perhaps but that assumes they think they need to deny anything. Based on the Thomas grifter situation, Thomas doesn’t seem to see a problem. I suspect Gorsuch would be of the same mind. The Supremes make their own rules, and when grifters run the court then grifting is OK.

  5. numerobis says

    This one feels pretty weak. Gorsuch gets on SCOTUS, immediately ditches his 20% ownership in a vacation property. The price seems reasonable for an upmarket house on a big plot of land in a desirable location. It also seems reasonable for what a reasonably successful lawyer or judge makes, that Gorsuch should be able to afford a 20% ownership in such a property — and that Duffy would be able to buy the entire thing. And there is no hint that Gorsuch continued to have access to the property after selling it.

    Unless there’s more to this story, it looks nothing like Thomas’ entanglements. Quite the contrary, it looks like Gorsuch taking effective action to get rid of the appearance of conflicts of interest as soon as it became relevant, and reporting the action. It’s certainly less fuzzy than putting this ownership in a “blind trust”.

  6. Reginald Selkirk says

    Gorsuch did not disclose the identity of the purchaser. That box was left blank.


  7. silvrhalide says

    @6 You’re telling me that a property that Gorsuch has a 20% interest in sits on the market for years and suddenly nine days after he becomes a Supreme, he finds a buyer–from a lawyer whose practice has consistent and considerable business before the Supreme Court no less–and Gorsuch’s property gets sold at his asking price. The asking price that literally no one else was willing to pay.

    Duffy, who described himself as an avid fly fisher, said he’d been looking for the right property for his family for many years. Duffy said he did not know Gorsuch was one of the owners when he made his first offer.

    So… Duffy is looking for “the right property for many years” yet somehow managed to miss this hidden gem of property–for years–but managed to find AND close on Gorsuch’s property NINE DAYS after he becomes a Supreme? At a price that literally no one else was willing to pay?
    It’s a Festivus miracle.

    Did you drink the Kool Aid or do you just walk around with blinders or exceptionally rosy eyewear?

  8. numerobis says

    silvrhalide: per the story (and a web archive link that purports to be the listing), the asking price was dropped repeatedly over the 2 years it was on the market. It ended up selling for 25% below the original asking price, slightly below the active asking price at the time according to that story.

    Someone looking “for years” for a vacation home looks for one in the spring … doesn’t seem too crazy either. When you’re looking for years for such a thing, you’re not spending much time looking, you’re more just browsing and seeing if anything pops up.

    This really all feels like nonsense.

  9. wzrd1 says

    numerobis, excuse me if I don’t believe in coincidences. Especially with GOP types, who run astonishingly long runs of such coincidences later proved to be conspiracies. Far too much insider trading and backroom deals for a healthy democratic society to survive.

  10. says

    PZ said: We have the receipts: Neil Gorsuch has a great big conflict of interest.
    Some commenters seem to think it is not a big deal and/or inaccurate. However, I would like to point out it is just one in an endless stream of corrupt activities and lies. There are 6 judges on the ‘alleged’ supreme court (which we have renamed in their honor as SCROTUM) that are as corrupt as can be. As proof, here is a post about 4 scrotum judges who LIED TO GET THE LIFETIME JOB!:

    However, I would like to apologize to the three decent honest justices. I would never include them in the infamy that the others have created.

  11. says

    Interestingly, Gorsuch didn’t side with a Greenberg client every time.

    That could be because in some cases, the Greenberg clients were so far in the wrong that he couldn’t plausibly take their side.

  12. silvrhalide says

    @11 from the link
    “Gorsuch and his associates purchased the property in 2005 through their LLC, the Walden Group, which was dissolved after the 2017 sale. The home was originally listed, in July of 2015, for $2.495 million. The fact that the property had sat on the market for so long and that its price had been lowered a couple times suggests the partners were having trouble finding a buyer.”

    So… nine days after Gorsuch becomes a Supreme, a property that has sat unsold for over 2 years on the market suddenly gets sold for $1.825 million. Gorsuch had a 20% stake and realized between $250,001-$500,000 profit (Line 56 code N on the disclosure form).
    I’m assuming a profit at the lower end of the N range of $250,001-$500,000, because a profit of $250,000-$500,000 with a 20% stake would mean that the property would have sold for over $2.5+ million at the upper end, $1.250+ million at the lower end.
    The property sold for $1.825 million, so I’m assuming the profit realized was at the lower end of the range.
    $1.825 million less $1.250 million is $575,000.
    The property was bought by Gorsuch via the Walden Group LLC in 2005 and was put on the market in 2015 with an asking price of $2.495 million.
    So Neil Gorsuch thinks that his vacation property has, over the course of just 10 years, appreciated 317% in value. That’s at the actual selling price of 1.825 million. Neil’s real belief (in addition to all the other batshit crazy beliefs he has, and has expressed from the bench, not just the ones he quietly doesn’t disclose) is that his property actually appreciated 434% over the course of just 10 short years, as per his asking price of $2.495 million.
    Did the other properties in the area appreciate 3X the value of the properties between 2005 and 2015? What is on Gorsuch’s property that makes it suddenly so valuable? A gold mine? Uranium? The secret formula for Coke?
    A asset that appreciates 317% in just 12 years is the stuff of masturbatory fantasies of Wall Street stockbrokers and investors.
    Yeah, an asking price of $2.495 million doesn’t look at all like a solicitation of a bribe and the selling price of $1.825 million doesn’t look at all like a bribe tendered./s Especially in the 6 years since the sale, the law firm in question has had 22 cases before the Supreme Court, or ballparks around 4 cases per year.
    Does this law firm have any other business before any other court? An average of 4 cases a year is a lot of cases. Any law firm with a Supreme Court case on the docket sinks a fuckton of money, time and assets into that case. There are no cheap, throwaway cases before the Supreme Court. All of them cost millions of dollars to bring a case that far in the first place.
    Keeping that in mind, overpaying for a property owned by a Supreme by less than a million dollars to maybe put a thumb on the scales of justice suddenly looks like a real bargain, in terms of money spent… and return on investment.

  13. wzrd1 says

    Nonsense and poppycock! There’s no thumb on the scales of justice! Someone’s heel, perhaps, but decidedly not a thumb.
    As I’ve repeatedly said, the United States of America has the absolute best government that money can buy.
    Well, rent for cheap.