By Katelynn Richardson
Daily Caller News Foundation
The Senate Judiciary Committee Democrats voted to authorize two subpoenas of wealthy conservatives on Thursday as the next step in their Supreme Court ethics probe.
The committee’s eleven Democrats voted to approve the subpoenas for billionaire real estate developer Harlan Crow, who is a close friend of Justice Clarence Thomas, and conservative activist Leonard Leo, executive vice president of The Federalist Society, as Republicans walked out of the meeting. Durbin had pushed off votes during two prior hearings.
“We believe what you are doing is politically motivated,” Republican South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham said. “There’s not an ounce of legislative purpose in these subpoenas. Because if you really gave a damn about legislation to fix the problem, you would bring the bill up to the floor that has passed this committee.”
The committee advanced Democratic Rhode Island Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse’s Supreme Court Ethics, Recusal, and Transparency (SCERT) Act to the full Senate without a single Republican vote in July. The bill has not yet been brought to the floor.
“This is a joke,” Graham said during the hearing. “A complete joke. Why can’t you convince Schumer to bring the bill up?”
“We believe what you are doing is politically motivated. There’s not an ounce of legislative purpose in these subpoenas because if you really gave a damn about legislation to fix the problem, you would bring the bill up to the floor that has passed this committee, so yeah, this… pic.twitter.com/O2pPbcIGd5
— Carrie Severino (@JCNSeverino) November 30, 2023
During the first hearing on the subpoenas, Republicans introduced amendments proposing counter subpoenas during Durbin’s first hearing on the issue. Durbin said Thursday these amounted to 177 proposals.
Republican Sen. Marsha Blackburn proposed issuing a subpoena to Justice Sonia Sotomayor’s staff based on an Associated Press report that they had assisted in organizing her speaking engagements and pressured hosts to purchase her books.
Republican Missouri Sen. Josh Hawley introduced another amendment to subpoena Democrat-linked consulting firm Arabella Advisors, as well as its founder Eric Kessler, and Demand Justice, a group that advocates for court packing and called for impeaching Thomas. Republican Texas Sen. John Cornyn’s amendment would issue subpoenas to George and Alex Soros regarding “their efforts to influence the composition of the U.S. Supreme Court and matters before the Court.”
The Supreme Court adopted a code of ethics Nov. 13 that mirrors the rules for lower court judges, which it explained was to “dispel” any idea that the justices regard themselves as “unrestricted by any ethics rules.” Democrats and left-wing groups who pushed the adoption of a code nevertheless criticized it afterwards for lacking an enforcement mechanism.
Durbin said Thursday the code falls “far short” of what is expected for the highest court in the land.
This story originally was published by the Daily Caller News Foundation.
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