The debate over the Supreme Court is in full force. It’s taking a toll on the Justices on the bench.
Because a Supreme Court Justice has waved the white flag of surrender, calling for Congress to take control.
After Justice Samuel Alito argued the Congress had no authority to “regulate” the Supreme Court, Justice Elena Kagan disagreed on Thursday, adding fuel to the fire as Democratic lawmakers try to monitor the nine justices’ ethical conduct.
Kagan stated at a judicial seminar in Portland, Oregon, “Of course Congress can regulate various aspects of what the Supreme Court does.”
“This is not surprising. I mean, our whole system is one of checks and balances,” Kagan said. “It just can’t be that the court is the only institution that somehow is not subject to any checks and balances from anybody else. I mean, we’re not imperial.”
Kagan also expressed optimism that the Supreme Court would establish its own code of conduct and address long-standing concerns about the separation of powers.
“It’s not a secret for me to say we have been discussing this issue,” she stated. “The nine of us have a variety of views about that.”
Just days after Alito, 78, was featured in a Wall Street Journal op-ed arguing that Congress did not have the right to adopt ethics guidelines for the justices, Kagan acknowledged the nine justices’ ongoing talks regarding a novel code of conduct.
“Congress did not create the Supreme Court,” Alito declared in the interview. “I know this is a controversial view, but I’m willing to say it. No provision in the Constitution gives them the authority to regulate the Supreme Court — period.”
California, Arizona, Nevada, Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Montana, Alaska, and Hawaii are all part of the 9th Circuit, and on Thursday Kagan met with lawyers and court staff from those jurisdictions.
Her comments came at the same time as a bill proposed by Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) to enact a code of conduct for Supreme Court justices and create a procedure to investigate infractions of the code was approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee, which is controlled by the Democrats.
Justices Clarence Thomas and Alito have come under fire for accepting gifts from Republican benefactors Harlan Crow and Paul Singer, prompting calls for more disclosure.
Democrats on the Judiciary Committee, led by Committee Chairman Dick Durbin (D-IL), came after Alito on Thursday as well, with Durbin writing to Chief Justice John Roberts to complain that Alito had breached the court’s Statement on Ethics Principles and Practices by commenting on the bill’s constitutionality in an op-ed.
Since recusal decisions are left to the discretion of individual justices, the senators’ plea is unlikely to go anywhere. It’s quite improbable that the Republican-controlled House will pass the legislation supported by the committee’s Democrats.
What’s stunning about these comments from Justice Kagan is that she is seemingly claiming that there are no checks and balances on the Supreme Court right now.
Congress does, in fact, have the authority to impeach federal judges and even Supreme Court Justices whenever it wants.
Just because Congress doesn’t have the authority to specifically regulate certain aspects like arbitrary ethics rules doesn’t mean that there are no checks and balances between the three branches of government.
We don’t see Democrats in Congress calling for ethics regulations to be passed for employees of the executive branch now do we?
Could you imagine if it was the Supreme Court that had been found having illegal drugs like the White House just several weeks ago? Americans would hear no end of it, with Democrats claiming that the Supreme Court needs a complete overhaul.
You simply won’t hear a peep from the Democrats about unethical conduct from anyone else in government except the Supreme Court right now because they have been handing down rulings that the radical Left disagrees with. Sore losers, the lot of them.
Stay tuned to the DC Daily Journal.