Leftist lawmakers and activists have increasingly bemoaned the state of the U.S. Supreme Court since then-President Donald Trump began appointing conservative justices to the bench. In the wake of last year’s decision to overturn federal abortion protections, such backlash has reached a fever pitch.
This week, Democratic members of the Senate Judiciary Committee led a hearing titled “Supreme Court Ethics Reform,” which ostensibly sought to implement new restrictions on the behavior of sitting Supreme Court justices.
In reality, however, Republicans contend that their colleagues on the other side of the aisle are only interested in exploring alleged ethics violations of conservative jurists and ignore similar concerns related to liberals on the court.
Here they go again. Senate Democrats are holding a hearing on “Supreme Court ethics reform”. But it’s been Democrats who have tried to destroy the Court for nearly 30 years. pic.twitter.com/rbAVdTpJBY
— Senate Republican Communications Center (@SRCC) May 2, 2023
Proponents of the recommended ethics reform point to accusations of ethics violations by Justices Clarence Thomas, but as more balanced reports conclude, leftist justices have engaged in similar behavior without a similar level of manufactured outrage.
Republican senators on the panel addressed the perceived hypocrisy during Tuesday’s hearing.
“None of my Democrat colleagues care because this is a political attack directed at a justice they hate,” asserted Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX).
Ranking Member Lindsey Graham (R-SC) agreed, insisting that the scandal surrounding Thomas goes “well beyond ethics,” adding: “It’s about trying to delegitimize a conservative court that was appointed through the traditional process.”
He cited an incident about 25 years ago involving then-Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg donating a signed ruling to the National Organization for Women’s Legal Defense Fund to be included in an auction.
After American University law professor Amanda Frost confirmed that it “would certainly be a problem” for conservative Justice Samuel Alito to donate his signed opinion in the aforementioned Dobbs decision to a pro-life organization, Graham said: “Why didn’t all hell break loose in 1998? I think we all know the answer to that.”
For his part, Sen. John Kennedy (R-LA) described the Democratic Party’s proposed solution as “unconstitutional” and “unnecessary.”
He asserted that the “attacks on conservative justices are targeted, they are exaggerated, their alarmism is affected.”
Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) took the rhetoric even further by describing the Democratic stance as a “thuggish shakedown” of the Supreme Court.
“The truth is, the left simply disagrees with the decisions issued by our current Supreme Court — and they obviously can’t persuade the American people to adopt their radical policies through legislation — so they are attempting to destroy the Court’s credibility and intimidate the Republican-appointed justices and their families,” he said.