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September 8, 2023

The Left’s Continuing Assault on SCOTUS

The Supreme Court’s constitutionally conservative tendencies are bringing out the worst in the statists.

The Supreme Court is under attack.

But Justices Sonia Sotomayor, Elena Kagan, and Ketanji Brown Jackson have nothing to worry about. Only justices with conservative viewpoints are in the Left’s crosshairs.

The Court’s rightward tilt drives Democrats up a wall. As our Douglas Andrews wrote recently, “The Supreme Court is thus a constant reminder to the statist Left of the limits of its power, and of the way it’s been outworked and outsmarted and — let’s face it — outlucked by its Republican enemies in recent years.”

Not long ago, Democrats revered the Supreme Court, taking every decision as gospel as long as it served their agenda. In fact, they’ve used the judiciary for decades to circumvent the legislative process and force their extreme agenda on the American people. Now that they’re outnumbered, though, the Left is trying everything from urging President Joe Biden to narrowly enforce the Court’s rulings to packing it with leftist justices.

This year, they’ve gone after Justice Clarence Thomas for not reporting private jet travel and trips paid for by a Republican donor, and lately they’re accusing Justice Samuel Alito of similar conflicts of interest. Meanwhile, they look the other way when it involves leftist justices.

Earlier this year, Justice Thomas defended his decision not to disclose trips and private school payments for his grandnephew.

Recently, Justice Alito penned an op-ed in The Wall Street Journal defending himself against charges from left-leaning news organization ProPublica, citing no conflict of interest in taking a trip to Alaska in 2008 with a man who later had business with the Court.

Alito wrote: “ProPublica has leveled two charges against me: first, that I should have recused in matters in which an entity connected with Paul Singer was a party and, second, that I was obligated to list certain items as gifts on my 2008 Financial Disclose Report. Neither charge is valid.”

In response to the accusations against Thomas and Alito, the Senate Judiciary Committee voted along party lines this summer to advance Rhode Island Democrat Sheldon Whitehouse’s Supreme Court Ethics, Recusal and Transparency Act, which seeks to implement regulations on justices and their clerks.

But Whitehouse didn’t stop there. Apparently, he doesn’t even think conservative justices should have opinions.

In a seven-page letter to Chief Justice John Roberts, Whitehouse asked for an investigation into Justice Alito for “improper opining” for having simply expressed his belief that the Constitution doesn’t give Congress “the authority to regulate the Supreme Court — period.”

The role of Congress in the affairs of the Supreme Court is a good discussion to have, but if Democrats want a stricter standard for financial disclosures, then it should apply to all justices, not just the conservative ones.

No one is opposed to reviewing and perhaps revising the Court’s ethics standards. As Reuters recently reported: “For several years, questions have been raised about weak disclosure rules relating to trips and other types of gifts, as well as recusal rules, for judges. U.S. Supreme Court justices and federal judges must make public more details about any free trips, meals or gifts they receive under new regulations adopted at the urging of lawmakers and judicial transparency advocates.”

Roberts has already pledged to hold the Court to the “highest standards of conduct.” And just this week, Justice Brett Kavanaugh expressed hope that the Court will soon take steps to address the vague nature of its current ethics rules.

The problem is that those on the Left want to delegitimize the Court itself — which is why they only care about ethics as they pertain to the Court’s conservative majority. And make no mistake: It’s not ethics leftists are worried about. It’s power. If they can get away with removing a Republican justice for taking a fishing trip 15 years ago, they’ll do it.

Let’s hope whatever Chief Justice Roberts and his colleagues come up with applies to both sides and puts an end to this leftist overreach — this effort to diminish the Supreme Court by holding its conservative justices to a higher standard than its liberal ones.

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