HomeUS NewsSCOTUS Justice Refuses To Testify at Dems’ Supreme Court Ethics Hearing

SCOTUS Justice Refuses To Testify at Dems’ Supreme Court Ethics Hearing

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Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee Dick Durbin (D-IL) has invited Chief Justice John Roberts of the Supreme Court to speak at a hearing on judicial ethics on May 2. Tuesday, Roberts expressed his lack of interest.

A court representative made public a letter from Roberts to Durbin:

I must respectfully decline your invitation.

As one might assume, the Chief Justice of the United States rarely testifies before the Senate Judiciary Committee due to separation of powers concerns and the significance of maintaining judicial independence.

Roberts appeared to be attempting to make a point by including a Statement of Ethics Principles and Practices with the letter and stating, “All of the current Members of the Supreme Court subscribe.”

Durbin asked the Chief Justice to testify after it was reported that Justice Clarence Thomas had taken vacations with his longstanding friend and GOP supporter Harlan Crow and failed to disclose numerous real estate transactions in 2014 on his financial disclosures. Thomas believed he was exempt from reporting the trades because he lost money on them, but he is now reportedly working on filing updates. In a statement, he claimed that he did not document the vacations because he was not required to do so under the then-applicable ethical guidelines.

Democracies are demonstrating:

Approximately two dozen Democratic members of Congress, led by Senator Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island and Representative Hank Johnson of Georgia, have asked Chief Justice John Roberts to open an investigation into Thomas. They are also requesting that the Judicial Conference refer Thomas to the US attorney general for possible violations of the Ethics in Government Act of 1978.

Whitehouse and Johnson’s joint statement read, “There is at least reasonable cause to believe that Justice Thomas intentionally disregarded the disclosure requirement to report the sale of his interest in the Savannah properties in an attempt to hide the extent of his financial relationship with Crow.”

In response to these allegations, Durbin urged Roberts in a letter earlier this month to “immediately open” an investigation and “take all needed action to prevent further misconduct.” “If the court does not resolve this issue on its own, the committee will consider legislation to resolve it,” he threatened.

Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee urged Roberts to skip the hearing last week after Democrats were accused of trying to humiliate Thomas. Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) advised, “I would not recommend that the chief accept his invitation because it will be a circus.”

More on this story via The Republic Brief:

Not merely because of the separation of powers, Roberts reached the appropriate decision in this case. If he attended, the hearing would turn into a blatantly politicized spectacle. He and the other conservative justices would have been the target of a flurry of attacks from Democrats, who are still enraged that Roe v. Wade was overturned. CONTINUE READING…

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