Top Democrats who have been pressuring the Supreme Court to adopt a new ethics code appear unhappy after the court’s unprecedented announcement of a new code of conduct, saying the code alone is not enough.
Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, DN.Y. said: “It’s long overdue for a code of conduct that specifically applies to judges,” adding “the lack of any way to enforce the code if any judge chooses to ignore it is a glaring omission.”
Senate Judiciary Chairman Dick Durbin, D-Ill., said the new rules “fall short” of what Congress “could and should expect,” although several Republicans said the Democratic effort would be unconstitutional .
“I am still reviewing the new code of court conduct. For now, I will note that the adoption of this code by the court marks a step in the right direction,” Durbin said.
‘DANGEROUS’ DEMO JUDICIAL ETHICS BILL WOULD ALLOW ANY ‘SHACKALON’ TO SEEK REMEDY, SEN. KENNEDY SAYS
“He may not meet the ethical standards that other federal judges are held to, and that’s unacceptable. And if he doesn’t answer, ultimately the American people will have the last word and the integrity of the court is called into question,” he said.
Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., echoed that sentiment in comments via video on X, formerly Twitter, calling the code a “first step” and pushing for congressionally mandated enforcement rules.
But a Republican member of the Judiciary Committee, Sen. Marcia Blackburn of Tennessee, said: “The role of the courts — not Congress — is to determine how they operate as an independent, co-equal branch of government.”
“Senate Democrats’ efforts — including their recent subpoena authorization charade — are nothing more than an attempt to delegitimize the court as an institution simply because they disagree with its recent rulings,” she charged.
SENATE DEMOCRATS TURN UP THE HEAT, ANNOUNCE ‘NEXT STEP’ IN SUPREME COURT ETHICS INVESTIGATION
Blackburn added that the commission must focus its efforts on “protecting the safety” of judges and their families “given the threats from the far left” they have faced in recent months.
Last week, Democrats on the committee tried to resolve subpoenas of private individuals about their ties to some of the court’s justices, but after Republicans countered by threatening to seek subpoenas for things like Jeffrey Epstein’s private jet manifests, Democrats seemed against the idea.
DEMOCRATIC SENATOR FILES ETHICS COMPLAINT AGAINST SUPREME COURT JUSTICE SAMUEL ALITO
On Tuesday, the nine justices issued an unprecedented code of conduct, along with a statement that said: “For the most part, these rules and principles are not new: The Court has long had the common law equivalent of ethics rules, viz. a set of rules derived from various sources, including statutory provisions, the code that applies to etc members of the federal judiciaryEthics Advisory Opinions Issued by the Judicial Conference Committee on Codes of Conduct and Historical Practice.”
“However, the lack of a code has led in recent years to the misapprehension that judges of this court, unlike all other jurists in this country, consider themselves unfettered by any ethical rules,” they said.
“To dispel this misunderstanding, we issue this code, which is largely a codification of principles which we have long held to govern our conduct,” the judges added.
The code is a set of five “canons,” including two new provisions that appear to be in response to reports of private travel arrangements undertaken by Justices Samuel Alito and Clarence Thomas, paid for by others, and use of judicial staff to promote books – referring to a recent report on Justice Sonia Sotomayor’s staff urging colleges and libraries to purchase her latest book.
SUPREME COURT ADOPTS MODIFIED CODE OF ETHICS FOLLOWING PRESSURE FROM DEMS
But Durbin responded with thinly veiled criticism, saying, “After years of refusing to act, a series of scandalous revelations involving several judges on the court, and the Senate Judiciary Committee passing legislation sponsored by Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse on ethics reform, the Supreme Court finally answered.”
“Today, for the first time in history, the United States Supreme Court is at least saying to the American people, ‘We hear you,'” he declared.
Durbin said he will “carefully review this proposed code of conduct to assess whether it meets our goal that the highest court in the land does not languish with the lowest standards of ethics in our federal government,” adding that “it begins a dialogue that can end with restoring the integrity of the court.
Carrie Severino, president of JCN and a former clerk to Justice Thomas, predicted Tuesday that she doubted the code “will satisfy Senate Democrats and their liberal supporters of black money, because their campaign was never about ethics, but about -soon to intimidate a court that despises fidelity to the Constitution.”
SOTOMAYOR’S WEALTH GROWS SEGMENTALLY SINCE JOINING SUPREME COURT, RAISING ETHICAL QUESTIONS
Democrats on the committee pushed for passage of the Supreme Court Ethics, Recusal and Transparency Act (SCERT), which would require the Supreme Court to adopt a code of conduct, establish a mechanism to investigate alleged violations of the code of conduct and other laws, update disclosure and transparency when a judge has a relationship with a party or friend before the court, and require justices to explain their withdrawal decisions to the public.
But it was met with sharp criticism from Republicans, including Sen. John Kennedy, R-La., who said the measure would be “”dead as fried chicken,” indicating he did not believe the measure would win the 60 votes necessary for progress on the Senate floor.
‘DANGEROUS’ DEMO JUDICIAL ETHICS BILL WOULD ALLOW ANY ‘SHACKALON’ TO SEEK REJUMPMENT, SEN. KENNEDY SAYS
He also said the legislation was designed to be a “judicial killing machine”.
“It would allow every tinfoil hat-wearing jackal in America whose own dog thinks he’s completely insane to petition a United States Supreme Court justice to recuse himself.”
CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP
“What could possibly go wrong? And my colleagues in the Democratic Party know that,” he said.
Kennedy said the bill was “dangerous, but it’s frivolous.”