House Lawmakers Push Bill to Create Ethics ‘Investigative Office’ Inside the Supreme Court

June 14, 2024
Bill to Create Ethics ‘Investigative Office' | First Liberty Insider

by Audrey Vestal and Jorge Gomez • 7 min read

The radical Supreme Court Coup is charging full speed ahead. The far Left continues its relentless attacks to undermine the U.S. Supreme Court and destroy the independence of the judiciary.

Recently, Rep. Dan Goldman of New York introduced the “Supreme Court Ethics and Investigations Act,” a bill that would establish two dedicated bodies inside the Supreme Court: the Office of Ethics Counsel and the Office of Investigative Counsel.

The action comes only a few weeks after House Democrats announced the creation of a “Court Reform Now” task force, which they say is supposed to fix “political activism” at the Court. Rep. Goldman is a founding member of that task force.

The bill’s proponents say it will “provide transparency and accountability through exhaustive investigations into alleged ethical improprieties and reports to Congress on its findings.”

Don’t be fooled. This legislation is nothing but a thinly veiled attempt by one party in Congress to erode the separation of powers.

The Office of Investigative Counsel is particularly alarming. It would have the power “to review and investigate ethics complaints against justices arising from their actions or the actions of their spouses and dependents.” This would be the place where so-called “ethics complaints” can be submitted. And who can submit these complaints? A select few members of Congress, including the Ranking Minority Member of the House Committee on the Judiciary.

The current Ranking Minority Member of the House Judiciary Committee is Rep. Jerrold Nadler of New York, who also happens to be a co-sponsor of the Supreme Court Ethics and Investigations Act.

(Side note: Recall that Rep. Nadler is one of the most vocal proponents of court packing. He was the leading sponsor of a bill to expand the size of the Supreme Court back in 2021).

At the unveiling of this most recent bill, Ranking Member Nadler remarked that flags briefly flown at Justice Samuel Alito’s residences are proof of widespread corruption among the Court. He argued that “Justice Alito’s display of the flags supporting the so-called ‘Stop the Steal’ movement suggest a blatant conflict of interest as the Court considers cases related to the January 6 insurrection.”

Justice Alito, however, has made clear it was his wife who flew the flag. In a letter to two Democratic Senators, Justice Alito soundly rejected their demand that he recuse himself from Trump v. United States and from any other cases related to the 2020 presidential election, writing that he “had nothing whatsoever to do with the flying of that flag.”

Although he requested the flag be removed, Justice Alito recognized that his “wife is a private citizen and she possesses the same First Amendment rights as every other American.” He also made an insightful point by saying that “the use of an old historical flag by a new group does not necessarily drain that flag of all other meanings.”

Politicians, progressive activists and some of the most radical groups in the country say the flag somehow represents a grievous conflict of interest in the cases related to the 2020 election. The extreme Left essentially argues that because Alito’s wife flew a flag that has been used by members of the “Stop the Steal” movement, he must recuse himself from any case that is even vaguely related to the movement.

Thomas Jipping at The Heritage Foundation also reported on a recent smear campaign against Justice Clarence Thomas. This time, a radical group is saying that Justice Thomas supposedly failed to properly account for gifts in his 2023 financial disclosure report.

But as Jipping explains, this is just another example of the far Left trying to make Americans hallucinate misconduct about Supreme Court justices:

“Fix the Court says that Thomas is unethical because he did not disclose what the group defines as gifts, with the value the group claims, regardless of the rules that federal judges actually have to follow. Those are just some of the misdirections and sleights-of-hand Fix the Court deployed to come up with numbers that they can then use to suggest that justices like Thomas, who interpret the Constitution as it’s written rather than making one up to fit the political agenda of this leftist group and its fellow travelers, are, well, just bad.”

So, let’s call this out for what it really is: an obvious ploy to silence justices that the far Left does not consider ideological allies. All this talk about Supreme Court “ethics reform” boils down to this: power.

The deceptively named “Supreme Court Ethics and Investigations Act” isn’t about accountability, transparency, oversight or any other euphemism the radical Left likes to use. This is about some politicians and groups trying to get around decisions they don’t like.

When rulings don’t go their way, they just change the rules to grab more power and undermine the Court’s authority. It’s simply another attempt by the Left to punish justices for doing their job.

When the Constitution was written, the Founders recognized the human impulse to consolidate power for the benefit of the few. In his Farewell Address, President George Washington warned:

“It is important… that the habits of thinking in a free Country should inspire caution in those entrusted with its administration, to confine themselves within their respective Constitutional spheres; avoiding in the exercise of the Powers of one department to encroach upon another. The spirit of encroachment tends to consolidate the powers of all the departments in one, and thus to create whatever the form of government, a real despotism. A just estimate of that love of power, and proneness to abuse it, which predominates in the human heart is sufficient to satisfy us of the truth of this position.”

Our Founders knew the importance of separating the power of government into three branches. To protect religious freedom and all of our cherished liberties, judges must be able to make decisions without fear of partisan retribution.

If the politically motivated Supreme Court Coup succeeds, the judiciary will become little more than a tool of whomever holds power. Judges will lose their ability to enforce the rule of law with impartiality, and the last safeguard to our civil liberties—including religious freedom—will be gone.

Read More:

Bloomberg Law: Supreme Court Ethics Office Bill Proposed by House Democrats

Washington Times: House Democrats push bill to create investigative counsel at Supreme Court over ethics

Roll Call: Democrats renew push on Supreme Court ethics, but GOP dissents

Newsweek: Supreme Court Could Face New Ethics Scrutiny

NBC News: Sen. Lindsey Graham says he will block Democrats’ effort to unanimously pass Supreme Court ethics bill

The Dialy Signal: Another Left-Wing Attempt to Smear Justice Thomas Fails

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