Tue. Jul 23rd, 2024

Senate Republicans block Democrats’ Supreme Court ethics bill

By 37ci3 Jun13,2024



WASHINGTON — Senate Republicans on Wednesday blocked a bill backed by Democrats. Supreme Court judicial authorities should adopt a mandatory code of conduct.

“The highest court in the land cannot and should not have the lowest ethical standards,” Judiciary Committee Chairman Dick Durbin, D-Ill., said in remarks before the motion.

Durbin appeared on the Senate floor Wednesday and tried to pass Supreme Judicial Ethics, Refusal and Transparency (SCERT) Act by “unanimous consent” which immediately faced opposition from Republicans.

Like him promised to do On Tuesday, Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., led a group of GOP senators to block the Democrats’ request, effectively stalling the legislation.

Graham called the bill “unconstitutional” that would “undermine the court’s ability to function effectively.” He was joined in dissent by Sens. John F. Kennedy, R-La., Mike Lee, R-Utah, and others.

“I don’t think this bill is about ethics. This bill is about abortion,” Kennedy said on the floor Wednesday, accusing Democrats of pushing it because they were angry that the court overturned Roe v. Wade.

That sparked debate on the floor, with many Democrats calling for the bill to be pushed as a transparency tool and a way to protect the court’s legitimacy.

The bill would require the judiciary to adopt a mandatory code of conduct, create a mechanism to investigate allegations of violations of the code and other laws, explain their decisions to dismiss cases, and improve disclosure rules when they are related to the administration of justice. party or friend in a case.

Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., said in a speech: “The Supreme Court has squandered its almost mystical powers, its unique power in the federal government.”

Later, he appealed directly to the Chief Justice John Robertsurged him to support the legislation.

Durbin argued in his speech that the vote “should not be a partisan issue,” adding that it would be “a good thing” for both the court and the country.

The bill drew sharp backlash across party lines, with a number of Republicans criticizing it before the vote.

Graham said the bill was about “de-cluttering” the court rather than improving it. Kennedy, the Democrats in Roe v. He argued that it was about abortion, not ethics, citing the Supreme Court decision that overturned Wade.

Lee argued that Democrats were motivated by concerns about the presence of cases before the court and the outcome of those cases.

Democrats also failed to pass the bill as lawmakers voted along party lines last summer, and it’s unclear whether Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., will bring it up for a vote through the normal legislative process.

“Chief Justice Roberts should be the guardian of the court’s reputation. In my judgment, and in the judgment of many Americans, he lacks that responsibility,” Schumer said Wednesday, adding that he would discuss next steps with Durbin if Republicans block the ethics legislation.

The Supreme Court is expected to make a number of important decisions in the next few weeks, including former President Donald Trump’s presidential immunity claim to overturn federal charges against him, and a decision on Jan. 6. A case from 2021 and the legality of drugs used to induce abortions.

Justice Samuel Alito and his wife faced scrutiny after The New York Times reported that they had turned the American flag upside down in front of their home in the days following the January 6 riots. In response, Durbin He urged Alito to give up work related to the 2020 elections; refused his request.

Separately, Justice Clarence Thomas was accused of acting unethically after being reported last year. properly disclose trips and gifts paid for by wealthy GOP donor Harlan Crow. Last week, Thomas She reported traveling to Bali in 2019 with Crow in the annual financial disclosure report. Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson’s report shows he bought $3,700 worth of concert tickets from Beyoncé.

Supreme Court adopted a new code of ethics in November says that justices should not engage in political activity and should be removed from cases if their impartiality is questioned. However, the code is self-enforcing only.



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