by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Jeff Zymeri of National Review Online reports concerns from Republican U.S. senators about their Democratic colleagues’ behavior.
Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee tore into their Democratic colleagues during a Tuesday hearing on Supreme Court ethics, accusing the lawmakers of joining with their ideological allies in the media to undermine the conservative Supreme Court majority because it stands in the way of their desired policy outcomes.
The hearing was scheduled by Judiciary Committee Democrats after ProPublica published a series of articles detailing Justice Clarence Thomas’s relationship with Texas billionaire Harlan Crow. Despite the fact that Crow has not had business before the Court during Thomas’s tenure — with the exception of one case that was never taken up involving a company which Crow had a minority interest in — many Democrats have seized on the report to argue that the Court should adopt stricter ethics rules to prevent undue interference.
For ranking member Lindsey Graham (R., S.C.), who has supported greater transparency from the Court in the past, the new push is not a good-faith effort. “We can talk about ethics and that’s great, but we’re also going to talk about a concentrated effort by the left to delegitimize this court and to cherrypick examples to make a point,” Graham said during his opening statement.
Graham pointed back to Democrats supporting demonstrations outside the justices homes and the Court building, despite the fact these demonstrations are criminalized by federal statute. “I want to tell you, Gorsuch; I want to tell you, Kavanaugh: You have released the whirlwind and you will pay the price,” said Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D., N.Y.) in 2020.
The South Carolina senator linked the Judiciary Committee’s effort to a recent top story on the New York Times‘s website entitled “How Scalia Law School Became a Key Friend of the Court.” Graham took issue with the implication there was something wrong with that law school’s association with several of the conservative justices, paying for their trips as part of summer courses they taught.