Editors at National Review Online question Democrats’ plans to target the chairman of the Federalist Society.

Senate Democrats can’t seem to help revealing their priorities. The rule of law isn’t one of them.

While the entire Democratic caucus agreed to shrug at the Department of Homeland Security nullifying federal immigration law, Senate majority whip and Judiciary Committee chairman Dick Durbin has decided to press forward with a subpoena for conservative legal activist Leonard Leo. The subpoena is part of a supposed investigation of Supreme Court ethics and seeks information from Leo — but not from similarly situated parties on the left — regarding gifts, accommodations, and other benefits to Supreme Court justices. It was issued on a party-line basis without allowing the participation of the committee’s Republicans. Durbin had stepped back from the brink of actually issuing a subpoena after Democrats voted to authorize one in November, but that was then; now it’s the eve of the spring rush of Supreme Court decisions and election-year fundraising. Priorities.

In theory, the subpoena sets up a showdown with Leo, who reiterated through his attorney that he considers it unlawful and will not comply. In practice, Durbin knows perfectly well that Democrats lack the votes to hold Leo in contempt, so the entire process is for show. Consider whom the show is for.

The first audience is Leo himself. Combined with the D.C. attorney general’s harassing investigation, the process here is the punishment, crafted to drain Leo’s attention and resources and deter his participation in the political process.

The second audience is the Supreme Court, the legitimacy of which remains under sustained assault from Democrats and their allies precisely because the Court has been standing up for the Constitution and the rule of written law. Witness the return of Christine Blasey Ford to the public eye. A Marquette Law School poll taken in late March showed public approval of the Court back up to 47 percent, which suggests diminishing returns on the effort to smear the justices.