Democrat Senate Judiciary Committee chairman Dick Durbin of Illinois wrote to Chief Justice John Roberts to testify on the Supreme Court’s ethical rules, and potential reforms. “I invite you, or another Justice whom you designate, to appear before the Senate Judiciary Committee on May 2, 2023,” wrote Durbin. “The time has come for a new public conversation on ways to restore confidence in the Court’s ethical standards.”
National Review reports the evolving issue “since the Dobbs case, which overturned Roe v. Wade.” As a result, “Democrats have intensified criticism of the Court, defending protests outside the homes of the justices, trying to make passage of funding for the Court’s next term conditional on new ethics rules, and calling for a probe into Justice Clarence Thomas, whose financial and personal dealings with billionaire Harlan Crow are the subject of public scrutiny.”
Durbin’s letter is the latest move from liberals to put pressure on the Supreme Court as well as attempt to implement unprecedented rules such as packing the Court in order to dissolve its conservative majority.
Durbin said Roberts last appeared in front of Congress to address ethical issues in 2011. “Since then, there has been a steady stream of revelations regarding Justices falling short of the ethical standards expected of other federal judges and, indeed, public servants generally. These problems were already apparent in 2011, and the Court’s decade-long failure to address them has contributed to a crisis of public confidence. The status quo is no longer tenable,” Durbin wrote.
National Review notes Republicans were quick to disagree with the move. “I would not recommend the Chief accept the invitation because it would be a circus,” Senator John Cornyn (R., Texas) told reporters.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R., Ky.) defended the third branch’s independence. “I have total confidence in the Chief Justice of the United States to deal with these internal court issues,” McConnell said.
“The Supreme Court and the court system is a whole separate part of our Constitution and the Democrats it seems to me spent a lot of time criticizing individual members of the court and going after the Court as an institution,” added McConnell.