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November 15, 2023

SCOTUS Ethics and Dems’ Political Grandstanding

The Supreme Court adopts a written code of ethics in an effort to dispel the Democrats’ vacuous criticism.

Politicians rarely engage in good faith arguments. Indeed, in Washington today, good faith might as well be equivalent to unicorns — in theory they may exist, but no one has ever actually seen one.

In recent months, congressional Democrats led by Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (RI) have waged a smear campaign against the U.S. Supreme Court, and specifically against originalist, constitutionally faithful justices Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito.

Whitehouse has dubiously charged the justices with unethical behavior due to the fact that they happen to have wealthy conservative friends. Based on this and several recent Court rulings leftists don’t like, Democrats and their cohorts in the Leftmedia have insinuated that the Court has effectively gone rogue and become political.

The Democrats’ claims are spurious, and they know it. But it’s all intended to build a narrative, no matter how erroneous, that supports their political objective, which is to discredit the current Court — and, better yet, get the Court to bend to their political desires or even set the stage for packing the Court with more leftist justices.

Unfortunately, the Democrats’ ruse has been working. So, in an effort to defend the Court’s constitutionally delineated authority and coequal position within the three distinct branches of the federal government, Chief Justice John Roberts has effectively fumbled the political ball.

For the first time in its history, the U.S. Supreme Court has adopted a written code of ethics. The 15-page code clarifies the expectations for the justices to the public. “The absence of a Code … has led in recent years to the misunderstanding that the Justices of this Court, unlike all other jurists in this country, regard themselves as unrestricted by any ethics rules,” the justices state. “To dispel this misunderstanding, we are issuing this Code, which largely represents a codification of principles that we have long regarded as governing our conduct.”

Justice Roberts evidently believes Democrats, and more specifically Whitehouse, have been voicing good faith arguments. Nothing could be further from the truth.

If Roberts believed this first-ever published code of ethics would silence the Democrats’ criticism of the Court, then he was dead wrong. This decision played right into the Democrats’ scheme, as evidenced by Whitehouse’s response.

He gleefully pounced: “Well, step one is done: The Supreme Court has at last acknowledged that it needs to have a code of ethics.” With the ball now in his court, he shot back: “Is there a place where you can file a complaint against a Justice? Do we get a public report at the end?”

Of course, what Whitehouse is after is to get the Court to capitulate to his demands that Congress be empowered to hold the justices to account. This has everything to do with politics and nothing to do with adherence to law or the Constitution.

Democrats will now beat their political drum, alleging that the Court’s code of ethics is yet more evidence that the country is being held captive by rogue justices.

The question now is this: Will Roberts continue to fall for the Democrats’ charade, or will he ignore this for the obvious bad faith politicking that it is?

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