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Tipsheet

The Left Continues to Go After Conservative Justices, This Time Over Christmas Parties

It's no secret that liberals and their allies in the mainstream media have it out for the U.S. Supreme Court and the conservative justices. Just on Tuesday we highlighted how The New York Times doesn't even seem to know how the Court works. What the justices do in their private time, including and especially one of their favorite targets, Justice Brett Kavanaugh.

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Perhaps few in the media have it more out for Kavanaugh than Ruth Marcus, who serves as the associate editor at The Washington Post. She also often writes columns, about, you guessed it, Kavanaugh.

Her most recent comes from December 13, in which she claimed that "Kavanaugh’s attendance at a conservative party shows that appearances matter." 

"I’m not worked up about Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh’s appearance at a conservative-studded holiday party. But the episode serves to highlight a disturbing trend among the justices, more prevalent on the right than the left: funneling their public appearances into compatible ideological silos," she claims, despite how we all know that that is not the case. The party took place at the home of the American Conservative Union's (ACU) Matt Schlapp, and was attended by other conservative figures. 

"The party featured some of the usual Washington types, including journalists Ben Terris of The Post, Steve Holland of Reuters and Greta Van Susteren, along with members of what President Biden might call the ultra-MAGA crowd: Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz and former Trump advisers Sebastian Gorka and Stephen Miller. America First Legal Foundation, Miller’s new organization, has filed friend-of-the-court briefs in cases pending at the high court," Marcus detailed.

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Marcus was not the first to cover the party, as she herself mentions in her column, when claiming the party "created some fuss," despite how Kavanaugh attended in previous years. The party was mentioned in POLITICO's Playbook from December 10, and by Lydia Wheeler who claimed for Bloomberg on December 12 that "Kavanaugh’s Holiday Party Appearance Renews Supreme Court Ethics Questions."

Marcus continues to go on a noble crusade of sorts, as she explains her reasoning: 

So where does discretion come in? This is a tough time for the court, ethics-wise. The institution doesn’t need another headache, on top of the still-unsolved, as far as we know, leak of the abortion draft opinion in early May and reporting more recently about an effort by a religious right organization to curry favor with conservative justices. A conservative justice partying with conservative activists feeds into a perception of the court, fairly or not, as an institution tainted with partisanship.

The Code of Judicial Conduct for federal judges, which doesn’t bind Supreme Court justices, has this to say on the subject: “A judge must expect to be the subject of constant public scrutiny and accept freely and willingly restrictions that might be viewed as burdensome by the ordinary citizen.”

Which gets to the more concerning development: the tendency among justices to speak to, or attend events sponsored by, groups and institutions with which they are ideologically attuned. This is not solely a conservative phenomenon — Justices Sonia Sotomayor and, before his retirement, Stephen G. Breyer, have given speeches to the liberal American Constitution Society. But the conservative justices — with the distinct exception of Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. — seem lately inclined to favor friendly institutions, religious and conservative organizations.

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She goes on to complain about other speaking engagements and events that Kavanaugh's fellow conservative justices have attended. 

"The contrast with liberal justices is striking. Over the past two years, for instance, Sotomayor spoke at a children’s book festival, at a nonpartisan Connecticut speakers forum, remotely to a group of San Diego lawyers and, with Barrett, to the Ronald Reagan Foundation — as well as to a Chicago university dedicated to educating “socially conscious citizens” and the American Constitution Society," she goes on to write.

As the tweet from the Judicial Network (JCN) highlights above, Marcus and Justice Elena Kagan had socialized in years past.

Marcus had been particularly vicious about Kavanaugh during the confirmation hearings of now Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson to compare how the confirmation hearings went. This called to mind how she herself dragged Kavanaugh during his own confirmation hearings when taking the side of his not particularly credible accuser, Christine Blasey Ford. 

Given her own past writings, it's hard to see how Marcus could expect her complaints about Kavanaugh to be taken seriously. 

Wheeler's take wasn't any better, as P.J. Gladnick highlighted for NewsBusters. The Bloomberg piece even began by claiming "US Supreme Court justices don’t often seem too concerned about appearances." Cue the eye roll.

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If even possible, Wheeler's piece is more self-righteous than Marcus' column. She can't help herself from mentioning how "Democrats have recently renewed calls for sitting Supreme Court justices to follow a formal judicial code of ethics," who have been particularly hellbent on destroying the Court in claiming it's not even legitimate.

Wheeler also mentions the allegations made by Rev. Robert Schenck, which have been discredited, perhaps most memorably by Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH), but also by the Court's attorney. Justice Samuel Alito is also another target from the left, for daring to write the majority opinion in the Dobbs v. Jackson case.

As Wheeler writes:

The news comes a week after a Christian advocacy group’s former leader was questioned by the House Judiciary Committee about his allegations that Justice Samuel Alito leaked the outcome of the Supreme Court’s 2014 decision in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores to a member of his network during a private dinner at the justice’s home. The decision let private companies claim religious exemptions from the mandate in the Affordable Care Act, which requires corporations to cover birth control.

Rev. Robert Schenck said fuzzy ethics rules make it easy to forge relationships with and subtly influence Supreme Court justices.

A letter that that lawyer, Ethan Torrey, sent to Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) and Rep. Hank Johnson (D-GA) is mentioned, though Jordan's epic takedown is not. 

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Whether it's past writings from the conservative justices' detractors in the case of Marcus, or Wheeler's self-righteousness and selective mentions of discredited accounts, the left's take on the Court just can't be taken seriously. 


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