WASHINGTON (Nexstar) — Senators on the Judiciary Committee discussed a possible code of ethics for Supreme Court justices and announced attempts to investigate whether extravagant gifts from wealthy donors to the justices created conflicts of interest.
“The fundamental question here is how bad, how corrupting is the billionaire influence at the Supreme Court,” said Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.)
Democrats say it’s long past time to implement a code of ethics for Supreme Court justices.
“The highest court in the land cannot have the lowest standard of ethics in the government,” voiced Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.)
Senators Durbin and Whitehouse vow to investigate potentially unethical behavior in the Supreme Court by issuing subpoenas to conservative political activist Leonard Leo and Republican donors Harlan Crow and Robin Arkley.
“Billionaires who are invested heavily in influencing the Supreme Court have been caught giving enormous secret gifts to individual justices,” Sen. Whitehouse continued.
Democrats say the lavish gifts raise questions about whether Supreme Court justices should have to disclose such gifts and recuse themselves from certain cases. But Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee slammed the efforts.
“It’s an effort to delegitimize the Supreme Court because you don’t like the way they rule,” protested Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.)
Senator Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) argued it’s inappropriate for Congress to get involved with the high court and promised Republicans would block the efforts.
“The underlying approach you’re taking, all of us believe, is unconstitutional,” noted Sen. Graham.
“That is obvious nonsense,” replied Sen. Whitehouse.
Democrats say they’ll press ahead with the investigations and subpoenas and will address the topic again next week.