Justice Neil M. Gorsuch, President Trump’s Supreme Court appointee, is scheduled to address a conservative group at the Trump International Hotel in Washington next month, less than two weeks before the court is set to hear arguments on Mr. Trump’s travel ban.
Stephen Gillers, an expert on legal ethics at New York University, questioned the justice’s decision to speak at the hotel, which is at issue in lower-court cases challenging the constitutionality of payments to Mr. Trump’s companies.
.. “It’s a terrible signal for this group to be holding their meeting at the Trump International Hotel and for a Supreme Court justice to legitimate it by attending,” she said. “It just violates basic ethical principles about conflicts of interest.”
.. Appearances by justices before groups with political leanings are not unusual. Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen G. Breyer and Sonia Sotomayor, all members of the court’s liberal wing, have spoken before the American Constitution Society, a liberal group.
.. On the other hand, Justices Clarence Thomas and Samuel A. Alito Jr., members of the court’s conservative wing, have addressed the Federalist Society, a conservative group.
There is very little crossover. “I could find no record of a sitting liberal Supreme Court justice addressing the Federalist Society annual meeting or a sitting conservative Supreme Court justice addressing the American Constitution Society annual meeting,” Richard L. Hasen, a law professor at the University of California, Irvine, wrote in a 2016 study.