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Goodwin Walls Off Jackson’s Brother-in-Law From High Court Cases

July 1, 2022, 6:49 PM

Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson’s brother-in-law will not receive income from his law firm Goodwin Procter’s work on cases in the US Supreme Court, the firm told the court Thursday.

William Jackson is a partner in Goodwin’s Washington office, where he focuses on health care and life sciences litigation. He does not handle Supreme Court cases, the firm said in a letter to the high court’s clerk.

Other firms have similarly opted to wall off partners with family ties to the court to avoid conflicts of interest. Goodwin’s move comes amid rising calls for the court to tighten ethics restrictions following revelations that Justice Clarence Thomas’ wife, Virginia “Ginni” Thomas, was involved in a pressure campaign to overturn the 2020 election.

Ketanji Brown Jackson was sworn in Thursday, replacing the retiring Stephen Breyer.

William Jackson joined Goodwin last year after more than two decades at Boies Schiller Flexner. He has represented United Therapeutics Corporation, United Healthcare Services, Inc., and Terra Firma Investments, among other clients, according to a review of federal court dockets.

A 1993 Supreme Court memo outlines the court’s recusal policy for cases involving law firms with family ties to justices.

“We shall recuse ourselves from all cases in which appearances on behalf of parties are made by firms in which our relatives are partners, unless we have received from the firm written assurance that income from Supreme Court litigation is, on a permanent basis, excluded from our relatives’ partnership shares,” the memo said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Roy Strom in Chicago at rstrom@bloomberglaw.com

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Chris Opfer at copfer@bloomberglaw.com; John Hughes at jhughes@bloombergindustry.com