Ethically Challenged Dems Target SCOTUS
The brouhaha over Justice Clarence Thomas’s friendship and travels is being used by Democrats to further delegitimize the Court.
If anyone knows enough about ethics to lecture other people, it’s Senate Democrats.
“Supreme Court Ethics Reform” was the name of their Senate Judiciary Committee hearing yesterday, and it ostensibly focused on the personal connections of the justices. The real purpose was further politically delegitimizing the Supreme Court.
Just as with the circus Democrats have made of confirmation hearings, or the State of the Union denunciation of the Court from Barack Obama, or the leak of the Dobbs decision one year ago — the leaker is still scot-free — the entire point of this Senate charade is to undermine public perception of the Court and any of its rulings that are unfavorable to Democrats. What better way to eventually pack the Court?
“This is all just a thuggish shakedown,” noted Senator Mike Lee. “Nice Supreme Court you’ve got there America, sure would be a shame if something happened to it.”
At immediate issue is the media-generated phony outrage over Justice Clarence Thomas having the gall to be friends with a wealthy man named Harlan Crow. They sometimes took trips together and did other things friends sometimes do. There’s no evidence that a single one of Thomas’s rulings, writings, or votes was compromised by his longtime relationship, or that Crow even had an interest in any case before the Court, but Democrats want you to think something bad happened because they don’t like Thomas’s rulings.
By the way, you’d be hard-pressed to find a member of the Senate or House who has not been on a private plane with a wealthy friend.
Moreover, between 2004 and 2018, the justices disclosed more than 1,300 reimbursed trips, which means the “unethical” behavior of which Thomas is accused is neither rare nor unethical. Indeed, all nine justices have signed a lengthy “Statement on Ethics Principles and Practices” that lays out the rules for them to follow. With rare but inconvenient exception, they do.
In lieu of accepting Judiciary Committee Chairman Dick Durbin’s invite, Chief Justice John Roberts replied by sending Durbin that statement along with a letter. “Testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee by the Chief Justice of the United States is exceedingly rare,” Roberts explained, “as one might expect in light of separation of powers concerns and the importance of preserving judicial independence.”
Judicial independence is exactly what Democrats want to crush. To that end, Senator Sheldon Whitehouse introduced the Supreme Court Ethics, Recusal, and Transparency Act. In it, he attempts to subject the Supreme Court to congressional oversight via new disclosure rules and an ethical code of conduct that would essentially require the justices to book their travel plans using the Whitehouse clearing service. Worse, it would subject the justices to loud recusal demands before every politically important case they take on, followed by cries of illegitimacy if those calls are ignored.
“Only Supreme Court justices refuse to allow their conduct to be investigated or reviewed,” huffed Whitehouse. “My bill would fix that.”
We’d argue that “fix” is unconstitutional.
Recall that Whitehouse made news during confirmation hearings for Brett Kavanaugh, when he boldly busted the nominee for, as a high schooler, using the word “boof” in a yearbook to describe flatulence. Yesterday, Whitehouse accused Clarence Thomas’s wife Ginni of “insurrection activities” because she sent texts expressing dismay over the 2020 election.
Of course, Democrats have been engaged in what Thomas called a “high-tech lynching” ever since he was nominated to the Court in 1991 because, as Senator Ted Cruz aptly observed, “he is a conservative African American.” Indeed, a black man is simply not permitted to wander off the leftist plantation without consequence.
Democrats led by Joe Biden besmirched Thomas’s character with the bogus accusations of Anita Hill 32 years ago. They canceled him at George Washington University last year. They embarked upon a witch hunt of his wife post-January 6 for those aforementioned texts. Thomas was even subject to the vulgar tirade of Chicago’s outgoing mayor, Lori Lightfoot. Now this.
Yet the Democrats’ heated rhetoric has dangerous consequences beyond just some tense hearings or untoward insinuations leveled in the press.
Senator Lindsey Graham used yesterday’s hearing to remind people that Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer once threatened the justices by name. “I want to tell you, [Neil] Gorsuch; I want to tell you, [Brett] Kavanaugh: You have released the whirlwind and you will pay the price,” Schumer said at a rally outside the Court in 2020. “You won’t know what hit you if you go forward with these awful decisions.”
After that and the 2022 Dobbs leak, Senator John Kennedy noted, “A man with a gun, ammunition, knife, pepper spray, and zip ties went to … Justice [Kavanaugh]‘s home to assassinate him.” In fact, Kennedy added, “His stated goal was to murder three justices.”
Are those the “ethics” Democrats bring to the table? Is this how senators should behave after court rulings they don’t like? Instead, quipped Kennedy, “My Democratic colleagues should fill out a hurt feelings report and move on.”
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