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Must Watch: GOP Senators Eviscerate the Left's Bogus 'Ethics' Attacks Against SCOTUS

We've been covering the Left's bogus "ethics" concern-trolling in recent weeks, exposing it for what it is: Yet another assault on a governing institution that progressives resent and fear because they don't control it and oppose many of its outcomes. The media – including both explicitly and de facto left-leaning outlets – have done their part in this crusade, drumming up "scandals" by inventing brand new standards for justices their fellow activists oppose. The purpose of this frantic flurry (what a coincidence, they've all been published within a few weeks of each other, and they're all focused on conservative jurists!) is to delegitimize the Court. Having had the ball placed on a tee by ideologically-aligned journos, Democrats are now taking their swings.  


The Democrat-led Senate Judiciary Committee – every Democratic member of which demanded Brett Kavanaugh's nomination be withdrawn following the ludicrous, debunked "gang rape" fantasy alleged by an insane person, represented by a now-convicted felon Resistance lawyer – held a hearing this week, ostensibly to probe these "troubling" allegations. It had nothing to with ethics. It had everything to do with power. The editors of The Wall Street Journal set the stage rather well in this editorial

Senate Democrats are holding another hearing on “Supreme Court Ethics Reform” on Tuesday, and it’s important to understand that this isn’t about ethics at all. This is another front in the political campaign to delegitimize the Supreme Court, with a goal of tarnishing its rulings and subjecting it to more political control.  The campaign is on full display in the press, with reporters at multiple publications suddenly searching for supposed ethics violations or conflicts of interest. Our writers have examined and debunked these reports highlighting Justices Clarence Thomas and Neil Gorsuch in recent weeks. It’s useful to expose for the record how thin these accusations are. But it’s also a mistake to assume that the facts matter to Democrats and their media researchers. This is a political project, and hyped accusations will continue to be asserted as if they are serious. The first sign that this is all politics is the context for the hearing. Note that it’s been triggered by easily debunked reports about the conservative Justices, especially claims that Justice Thomas didn’t properly disclose certain financial transactions. 

But Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson didn’t get the same attention when she revised her financial disclosures in 2022. Her oversights were far more extensive than Justice Thomas’s. There was also no outcry in 2020 when Justice Sonia Sotomayor amended her financial disclosures after the group Fix the Court found that she hadn’t disclosed reimbursement for trips to universities. Nor was there an uproar when the OpenSecrets website reported in 2019 that former Justice Stephen Breyer was reimbursed for trips some 219 times from 2004-2018. Some of those trips were supported by the wealthy Pritzker family. There are other examples involving liberal Justices. To be clear, we believe none of these Justices did anything wrong. But neither did Justice Thomas in having a rich friend in Harlan Crow or a minor oversight on one of his disclosure forms. Democrats didn’t mind any of this when they agreed with the Court’s opinions on gay marriage, abortion, or restraining Donald Trump.

Exactly right. The Journal editors applaud Chief Justice Roberts for declining to participate in this charade, opining that the objective of the ginned-up "controversy" is to create a pretext to impose more (leftist) political control over the independent judiciary and to intimidate its members. This, they write, "is the real and dangerous political game that Democrats are playing when they talk about Supreme Court ethics reform." I'll note that additional supposedly "concerning" nothing-burgers have also been dropped on Roberts, on a law school aligned with the conservative legal community, and on an influential and well-funded conservative organization to counter the Left's far-reaching ideological network: 

That last piece was written by the same Politico activist who authored the shoddy, sloppy, incoherent hit job against Justice Gorsuch – and who was also a participant in the left-wing's disgraceful pile-on circus during the Kavanaugh hearings. Understand that there are no meaningful or consistent standards at play here. This is moving-target Calvinball, the point of which is to manufacture an air of corruption around the Court by making up rules and applying them selectively toward that partisan end. The whole project should be dissected on the facts, yes, but also treated with the contempt and ridicule it deserves. It's an ideological tantrum by people who believe they have a birthright to control every lever of power in society. During and adjacent to the hearing, Republican Senators deservedly savaged the proceedings. Ranking member Lindsey Graham told the truth, bluntly and plainly. So did Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, in this floor speech: 


"In the last few years, [Democrats'] hostility has reached reckless new highs. A sitting Senator stirring up crowds from the steps of the Court, naming Justices who would pay the price…Unhinged activists marching on Justices’ family homes, publishing the locations of their children’s schools, and fueling a frenzy that had one unstable person literally plotting to assassinate a member of the Court…Attorney General Garland simply refusing to enforce clear federal law and stop illegal mob protests at judges’ homes. Now we’ve got the next raft of silly personal attacks. This time, the left and some of their media allies want the American people to gasp in horror that one Supreme Court Justice vacations with his friends… that another one sold his house when he moved… and that Chief Justice Roberts’s wife has a career outside the home! ...We now have Senate Democrats openly threatening to de-fund the Court’s budget by the exact amount they need for security to protect the Justices and their families… if the Justices don’t reorganize internal affairs the way some Democrats want. Every five minutes, the Democratic Party wants to give lectures about upholding our institutions and protecting democracy. But just as often, they find a way to undertake some new reckless attack against the courts and the rule of law. I’m proud of how our nation’s highest Court has weathered these latest baseless attempts to attack its authority. [The justices] should pay the partisan grandstanding no mind at all.”


Every word of that speech is worthwhile. And here is Utah's Mike Lee, giving committee Democrats an earful, including a pointed taste of their own racially demagogic medicine. I especially recommend the portion starting around the five-minute mark, in which Lee mentions a list of would-be "ethical problems" from certain justices that received virtually no scrutiny from the media, and certainly raised no outcry for "reforms" or investigations. The reason for this apparent disconnect is self-explanatory, but Lee spells it out anyway: 

"The Left simply cannot accept the fact that one of our greatest American success stories—that of a humble citizen who rose from poverty in the segregated South to become not only one of the Supreme Court's longest-serving justices, but also one of the most influential jurists our country has ever known—is the story of a Black man who happens to be a conservative."

Louisiana's John Kennedy also took apart the whole farce in his own inimitable style, really going hard after Chuck Schumer hard, and justifiably so: 

"They aren't getting their way, so they want to change the rules." Listening to this history of Democrats' egregious behavior on this front is important because it underscores exactly what they're doing, and why. This is a crew that postures about veneration for "norms and institutions," when what they really want is power and control. And on the off chance that Senate Democrats are genuinely worried about ethics, they might start their good governance crusade by looking inward



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