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Senate Dems to Subpoena GOP Donors in Push for Ethics Law

By    |   Tuesday, 31 October 2023 11:10 AM EDT

Republican megadonor Harlan Crow and conservative activist Leonard Leo will be receiving subpoenas from Senate Democrats looking into the dealings of conservative Supreme Court justices.

Senate Judiciary Committee Democrats will be issuing the subpoenas under the guise of pushing the legislative purpose of forcing the Supreme Court, the head of the constitutionally constructed independent judicial branch, to adopt a code of political ethics.

Republicans have long denounced Democrat pressure on the Supreme Court and judiciary, attacks that have picked up since former President Donald Trump confirmed three conservatives to the highest court, flipping the majority to conservative from liberal (6-3).

Just those three liberal justices support forcing an ethics code on the court, the AP reported.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., has stressed maintaining the Constitution's centuries-old judicial independence, something Democrats want to break.

"The Supreme Court in my view can't be dictated to by Congress," McConnell stressed. "I think the chief justice will address these issues. Congress should stay out of it because we don't, I think, have the jurisdiction to tell the Supreme Court how to handle the issue.

"I have total confidence in Chief Justice John Roberts to, in effect, look out for the court as well as its reputation."

Roberts is considered one of the six Republican-nominated justices, but he has not been a rubber stamp with conservatives.

ProPublica reporting has targeted conservatives, ignoring allegations against liberal justices.

"They've been after everybody from Clarence Thomas to anybody they can get their teeth into to try to undermine the credibility of the court," Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, said of Senate Democrats.

"I think all of us need to be concerned about the public confidence in the courts, but this is not something that the Congress has any authority over. This is something the court itself needs to come to grips with."

Still, Chairman Dick Durbin, D-Ill. will subpoena Crow, Leo, and Robin Arkley II.

Crow has had ties to Justice Thomas for decades, paying for nearly annual vacations, purchasing from Thomas and others the Georgia home in which the justice's mother still lives and helping pay for the private schooling for a relative.

Leo worked with Trump to nominate conservative judges, while Arkley has alleged ties to Justice Samuel Alito.

Arkley and Leo have refused to cooperate with probing Senate Democrats.

Crow's office called the subpoena politically motivated.

"It's clear this is nothing more than a stunt aimed at undermining a sitting Supreme Court Justice for ideological and political purposes," he said.

Leo voiced a similar objection.

"I will not bow to the vile and disgusting liberal McCarthyism that seeks to destroy the Supreme Court simply because it follows the Constitution rather than their political agenda," Leo said.

Senate Judiciary Democrats approved legislation to force the justices to abide by stronger ethics standards, setting transparency rules and enforcement on recusals, gifts, and conflicts of interest.

Senate Republicans have united against it, saying it could "destroy" the court.

Apart from the Judiciary Committee, Senate Finance Committee Democrats issued the results of their separate probe of the $267,000 loan that enabled Thomas to buy a luxury, 40-foot motorcoach in 1999. The committee found the loan, made by longtime friend Anthony Welters, appears to have been largely if not totally forgiven after Thomas made payments of interest, only, over nine years.

Elliot Berke, a lawyer representing Thomas, issued a blistering statement defending the justice's conduct and taking aim at his critics.

"The attacks on Justice Thomas are nothing less than ridiculous and dangerous, and they set a terrible precedent for political blood sport through federal ethics filings," Berke said. "Justice Thomas' amended report answers — and utterly refutes — the charges trumped up in this partisan feeding frenzy."

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

Eric Mack

Eric Mack has been a writer and editor at Newsmax since 2016. He is a 1998 Syracuse University journalism graduate and a New York Press Association award-winning writer.

© 2024 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

Republican megadonor Harlan Crow and conservative activist Leonard Leo will be receiving subpoenas from Senate Democrats looking into the dealings of conservative Supreme Court justices.
subpoena, senate, democrats, supreme court, ethics
Tuesday, 31 October 2023 11:10 AM
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