Chief Justice Roberts Refuses To Testify At Senate Ethics Hearing

Let’s see: just in the past few weeks we’ve had Justice Clarence Thomas accepting ultra-luxury travel from a far-right billionaire with interests in cases before the Supreme Court and – oh, yeah, that same billionaire bought Clarence Thomas’ mother’s house, ostensibly to make a Clarence Thomas museum but has made the kind of renovations more fit for a residence than a museum – none of which was properly disclosed on disclosure forms. That’s not including Thomas’ failure to properly report the source of hundreds of thousands of dollars in income. And then there’s his failure to recuse himself from cases his activist, coup-supporting wife has interests in.

Now we find out Justice Neil Gorsuch sold his house, for nearly $3 million, to the chief executive of a law firm with what Politico described as “a robust practice” before the Supreme Court. The sale went through nine days after Gorsuch was confirmed for his lifetime appointment. Gorsuch did not disclose the identity of the purchaser on his disclosure form.

But according to Roberts, there’s no need to involve himself in a Senate hearing because separation of powers! And all the justices have signed a “Statement on Ethics Principles and Practices.”

The Washington Post has more:

Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. told Senate leaders Tuesday that he would “respectfully decline” to testify at a Senate hearing focused on the Supreme Court, offering instead a statement signed by all the justices in which they “reaffirm and restate foundational ethics principles and practices” to which they abide.

There did not seem to be new proposals or guidelines in the “Statement on Ethics Principles and Practices.” Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Richard J. Durbin (D-Ill.) immediately labeled it insufficient, noting recent revelations about Justice Clarence Thomas that the senator said illustrated the need for more scrutiny.

“I am surprised that the Chief Justice’s recounting of existing legal standards of ethics suggests current law is adequate and ignores the obvious,” Durbin said in a statement.

“It is time for Congress to accept its responsibility to establish an enforceable code of ethics for the Supreme Court, the only agency of our government without it,” Durbin’s statement continued.

The Senate hearing is scheduled for May 9.

Chief Justice Roberts Refuses To Testify At Senate Ethics Hearing

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