UNITED STATES NEWS

Senators call for Supreme Court to follow ethics code like other branches of government

Jul 11, 2023, 2:30 PM | Updated: 3:28 pm

The chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, responding to Associated Press investigative stories on the Supreme Court, said Tuesday it was time for the justices to bring their conduct in line with the ethical standards of other branches of government.

“If they just establish the basic standards of every other branch of government, it would give us much more confidence in their integrity,” Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., said. He commented in Vilnius, Lithuania, where he was attending the NATO summit as part of the U.S. delegation.

The AP published stories showing that taken expenses-paid teaching trips to attractive locations that are light on actual classroom instruction.

The series comes after stories over the past six months that have raised ethical concerns about the activities of the justices. Durbin and other lawmakers in Washington have announced a vote next week on legislation that would require the court to adopt an ethics code. While the measure is unlikely to pass, it sends a signal of discontent about the court.

The nation’s highest court operates without an ethics code, instead following what Chief Justice John Roberts has referred to as a set of foundational “ethics principles and practices.”

Asked Tuesday about the AP stories, Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., who also sits on the Judiciary Committee, called them “powerful reports” that amount to a “drip-by-drip-by-drip indictment of a Supreme Court that seems answerable to no one for ethical breaches.

“The chief justice really ought to be taking these into account for the sake the court and the country because the Supreme Court will no longer exist as a truly viable institution if it continues the failure to face the need for a code of ethics,” he said.

In contrast, Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, another member of the Judiciary Committee, said he believes Congress should leave the ethics issue to the court and that the Democrats’ pursuit of ethics reform “is part of a long-standing assault against the court that the left feels is undermining a lot of things they’ve accomplished over the years by judicial action. To me, that’s the motivating factor.”

“I think it’s a co-equal branch of government we don’t have jurisdiction over. Secondly, I think this is part of a false narrative that the court is out of control and needs Congress to save it,” Cornyn said.

Kathleen Clark, a law professor at Washington University in St. Louis and an expert in legal ethics, said the latest reporting reveals the extent to which “ethics problems at the Supreme Court is an equal opportunity scandal.

“It’s not just about Clarence Thomas and (Samuel) Alito,” Clark said, referring to earlier media reporting about the two conservative justices. “It’s an institutional rather than individual problem.”

_____

Megerian reported from Vilnius, Lithuania. AP writer Kevin Freking in Washington contributed to this report.

United States News

Former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley speaks in Washington, May 22, 2024. Haley on Tuesday, July 9, op...

Associated Press

Nikki Haley, Trump’s former primary rival, will now speak Tuesday at the Republican convention

Nikki Haley will speak Tuesday at the RNC in what will be a highly anticipated speech by Donald Trump's last major challenger.

28 minutes ago

Gov. Greg Abbott receives a briefing for Hurricane Beryl from local elected officials Sunday, July ...

Associated Press

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott demands answers as customers remain without power after Beryl

DALLAS (AP) — With around 350,000 homes and businesses still without power in the Houston area almost a week after Hurricane Beryl hit Texas, Gov. Greg Abbott on Sunday said he’s demanding an investigation into the response of the utility that serves the area as well as answers about its preparations for upcoming storms. “Power […]

2 hours ago

Associated Press

Acclaimed video artist Bill Viola dies at 73, created landmark `Tristan und Isolde’ production

LONG BEACH, Calif. (AP) — Bill Viola, a video artist who combined with director Peter Sellars on a groundbreaking production of Wagner’s “Tristan und Isolde” originally seen in Los Angeles, Paris and New York, has died at age 73. Viola died Friday at his home in Long Beach of Alzheimer’s disease, his website announced. What […]

4 hours ago

People reacting to near assassination attempt of Donald Trump at rally...

Associated Press

Governor says man killed at Trump rally was former fire chief who ‘died a hero’

A former fire chief attending the rally with family was killed, as was the gunman. Two other people were also critically wounded.

6 hours ago

Donald Trump being helped off rally stage...

Associated Press

Law enforcement: Bomb-making materials found in vehicle and home of Trump rally shooting suspect

Law enforcement officials told The Associated Press that bomb-making materials were found inside the vehicle of the man suspected in the Trump rally shooting. There were also bomb-making materials found at his home.

8 hours ago

President Joe Biden arrives on Air Force One at Andrews Air Force Base, Md., Saturday, July 13, 202...

Associated Press

Biden appeals for ‘unity’ after attempted Trump assassination, orders security review

President Joe Biden on Sunday appealed for the country to “unite as one nation” after the attempted assassination of Donald Trump.

8 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

...

Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Beat the heat, ensure your AC unit is summer-ready

With temperatures starting to rise across the Valley, now is a great time to be sure your AC unit is ready to withstand the sweltering summer heat.

...

COLLINS COMFORT MASTERS

Here are 5 things Arizona residents need to know about their HVAC system

It's warming back up in the Valley, which means it's time to think about your air conditioning system's preparedness for summer.

...

Collins Comfort Masters

Here’s 1 way to ensure your family is drinking safe water

Water is maybe one of the most important resources in our lives, and especially if you have kids, you want them to have access to safe water.

Senators call for Supreme Court to follow ethics code like other branches of government