WASHINGTON, D.C. (LifeSiteNews) – The U.S. Supreme Court (SCOTUS) issued a statement last week against a Democratic attempt to impose ethics measures on it after alleging two of its conservative members committed ethics violations.
In a statement released by the Court on Tuesday responding to a request by Democrat U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin, head of the Senate Judiciary Committee, for testimony from Chief Justice John Roberts regarding the Court’s ethics standards, all nine SCOTUS Justices said that they reaffirmed the Court’s adherence to general ethical norms used in lower courts, including norms for financial disclosures and recusals.
Speaking about recusals, the statement reads, “If the full Court or any subset of the Court were to review the recusal decisions of individual justices, it would create an undesirable situation in which the Court could affect the outcome of a case by selecting who among its Members may participate.” The statement continued, stating the possibility that public disclosure of the basis of a recusal could “encourage strategic behavior by lawyers who may seek to prompt recusals in future cases.”
The statement also alluded to recent attempts on Justices’ lives with regard to recusals, saying, “A word is necessary concerning security. Judges at all levels face increased threats to personal safety. These threats are magnified with respect to Members of the Supreme Court, given the higher profile of the matters they address.”
“Recent episodes confirm that such dangers are not merely hypothetical. Security issues are addressed by the Supreme Court Police, United States Marshals, state and local law enforcement, and other authorities,” the statement continued. “Matters considered here concerning issues such as travel, accommodations, and disclosure may at times have to take into account security guidance.”
Attached to the statement was a letter from Roberts addressed to Durbin, declining an invitation to testify at a hearing held Tuesday before the Senate Judiciary Committee, citing the separation of powers between the branches of government.
Durbin, reacting to the Justices’ statement, said it “raises more questions than it resolves,” maintaining that SCOTUS’ ethical reform will either come from the Court itself, or from Congress.
Thomas has been accused of failing to disclose various expensive gifts and “luxury trips” provided him by his personal friend and Republican “mega-donor” Harlan Crow. Thomas has denied any wrongdoing.
Gorsuch, meanwhile, has been accused of selling property to Brian Duffy, the CEO and chief of the lawyer litigation department at Greenburg Traurig, a law firm whose members argue before the Court. Duffy maintains that he cleared the purchase with Greenburg Traurig’s ethics department, and that he has never spoken to Gorsuch.