Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito, who has been at the center of numerous ethics controversies before the court lately, told the Wall Street Journal that lawmakers must abandon the idea of imposing new rules on judges.
“No provision in the Constitution gives them the power to regulate the Supreme Court — period,” he said said two interviewers for the opinion section of the business newspaper in an article published on Friday.
Alito, who wrote the expert opinion in the Dobbs case that brought Roe v. Wade was unusually active for a sitting federal judge in defending against claims of impropriety.
He even went so far as to get the journal to publish an op-ed defending himself against claims in a ProPublica article he authored failed to reveal gifted luxury travel and private jet travel – before ProPublica had even published the story.
In the interview published on Friday, Alito said that normally “the organized bar association” of lawyers would defend the court against its critics. But he said that didn’t happen: “And at one point I said to myself that no one else is going to do anything like this, so I have to defend myself.”
There has been much to defend lately, as Alito and fellow Conservative judge Clarence Thomas have been accused of improperly reporting gifts on federal disclosure forms. Thomas in particular was According to ProPublica, trips have been accepted by Republican mega-donor Harlan Crow for years.
The ethics disputes led Senate Democrats to consider requiring the court to adhere to stricter ethics standards closer to those of Congress and the executive branch of government.
On July 20, the Senate Judiciary Committee approved a bill by Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (DR.I.) that would require the Supreme Court to adopt a code of conduct and establish a process to investigate possible violations.
Chief Justice John Roberts said such changes were not necessary, and The court can be trusted to regulate itself. But Alito’s comments seem to go much further, saying that Congress cannot make demands on the Supreme Court because it is part of an equal branch of government created by the US Constitution.
Congress already controls a large aspect of the Supreme Court, determining how much it can spend annually, and the Constitution also notes that its jurisdiction as an appellate court is “subject to the rules made by Congress.”
Whitehouse, in a post on social mediasaid one of two interviewers who wrote that they sat with Alito for a total of four hours in two sessions ending in early July was part of an effort to block an investigation into Leonard Leo, co-chair of the libertarian Federalist Society Influencing the selection of Republican nominees for the courts.
According to news site TPM, lawyer David Rivkin is a regular contributor to Opinions but is also part of a team with the law firm BakerHostetler LLP A major tax case is before the court That could decide whether a wealth tax would be constitutional.
Whitehouse wrote, “Shows how small and shallow the pool of agents is around this conquered court – the same people keep showing up with new assignments.”