(DailyVantage.com) – Republicans in the senate are fighting back against democrats looking to withhold funding to Supreme Court Justices in exchange for pushing the high court to better govern themselves on matters of ethics and formulate a fresh code of conduct reflecting such.
Recent disclosures about Justice Clarence Thomas and his acceptance of lavish gifts from a wealthy family friend and real estate magnate, Harlan Crowe, have spurred Democrats on the Senate Appropriations Committee to push this latest agenda.
Members of the GOP say the move is tantamount to holding the safety of the justices hostage.
With threats increasing around Supreme Court justices’ safety, even at their own doorstep, additional funds were requested in this year’s budget to bolster security services to protect them. A typical budget will cover the court’s usual operational costs, salaries, and building upkeep and maintenance.
With the nearly six million dollar requested additional expense to their budget, Democratic lawmakers see a way to cinch the purse strings held by Congress and leverage democrats demands.
The search for a more rigorous code of conduct for the justices of the Supreme Court is not a new dilemma, and a partisan divide is usually readily at hand in the theme of the proposals that have been laid out in years past.
Sen Dick Durbin (D. Ill.) invited Chief Justice John Roberts to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee on May 2, 2023, which Justice Roberts declined in a letter and cited the separation of powers making testimony “exceedingly rare” and the relevant need for the high court to “preserve judicial independence.”
Justice Roberts’ letter stated that the justices aim to follow the code of conduct for the lower courts but that some exceptions exist for various reasons, an important one being security.
Financial disclosure on gifts, outside income or employment, spousal employment and other requirements have been followed by the justices since 1991. Justice Roberts has pointed out that disclosure requirements have been tightened up, closing loopholes this year that will require judges to disclose gifts from friends than would have been exempt in the past.
All of the nine justices signed a joint statement to attest to their voluntary adherence, and reaffirmation, of the code of conduct also followed by federal court judges. Is it enough?
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