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BumRushDaShow

(132,197 posts)
Tue Jun 11, 2024, 07:37 AM Jun 11

Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse requests information about Alito's 'improper' WSJ interview

Source: NBC News

June 10, 2024, 8:23 PM EDT


Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, a member of the Judiciary Committee, requested information from Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito tied to an interview with The Wall Street Journal last year in which Alito questioned whether Congress has the power to impose ethics rules on the Supreme Court.

In the letter made public Friday, Whitehouse, D-R.I., accused Alito of offering in an interview with the paper last year "an improper opinion regarding a question that might come before the Court" amid an ethical dilemma related to donors' funding of undisclosed gifts to Supreme Court justices.

According to the Journal interview, published July 28, Alito had asserted that Congress lacked authority to regulate the high court. “No provision in the Constitution gives them the authority to regulate the Supreme Court—period," Alito told the newspaper at the time.

Alito's interview appeared weeks after the Journal published his commentary rebutting a ProPublica report detailing his failure to disclose a fishing trip in Alaska with a Republican billionaire. The interview, Whitehouse noted, was conducted by David B. Rivkin, an attorney representing Leonard Leo, who, according to ProPublica's report, coordinated Alito's 2008 trip with GOP donor Robin Arkley II.

Read more: https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/supreme-court/whitehouse-alito-requests-information-wsj-supreme-court-rcna156455



Link to Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse LETTER (PDF) - https://www.whitehouse.senate.gov/wp-content/uploads/2024/06/Sen.Whitehouse-Justice.Alito-6.7.2024.pdf
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Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse requests information about Alito's 'improper' WSJ interview (Original Post) BumRushDaShow Jun 11 OP
I put this to those who know something about Constitutional law EYESORE 9001 Jun 11 #1
It does not FBaggins Jun 11 #3
So could this be considered investigation of impeachment-worthy actions? EYESORE 9001 Jun 11 #5
Not even close FBaggins Jun 11 #6
Unfortunately Thomas and Alito BlueKota Jun 11 #9
Their lack of shame was never the issue FBaggins Jun 11 #10
It's not the media scrutiny or an orchestrated campaign by BlueKota Jun 11 #11
Feel free to ask yourself why only a handful of Democrats in Congress seem to care FBaggins Jun 11 #12
Because they know they don't have the votes to impeach! BlueKota Jun 11 #13
Sorry... that doesn't come close to explaining it FBaggins Jun 11 #14
You obviously think Alito and Thomas shouldn't be BlueKota Jun 11 #17
I have said no such thing FBaggins Jun 11 #19
It also has the power of the purse, and can expand the size of the Court... Grins Jun 11 #15
The power of the purse is quite limited in this regard FBaggins Jun 11 #18
Nothing in the Constitution says the Justices have to have a funded staff of clerks. Gore1FL Jun 11 #27
That's true... but also irrelevant FBaggins Jun 11 #29
They are co-equal. Ergo, congress and the executive branch would be the winners, I would think. nt Gore1FL Jun 11 #31
It would seem to me if Congress has the power to impeach and remove a justice, it also has the power to Martin68 Jun 11 #24
Of course - but only to the extent that they're involved in impeachment FBaggins Jun 11 #25
If congress has the duty to impeach a justice, then it would seem to logically follow that they can establish ethical Martin68 Jun 11 #28
That does not logically follow at all FBaggins Jun 11 #30
Good for that reporter suckering that MOMFUDSKI Jun 11 #2
Did Whitehouse send a similar letter to Justice Kagan? FBaggins Jun 11 #4
Did you note the difference? BumRushDaShow Jun 11 #7
There's a difference between what Alito said and what Kagan said. cab67 Jun 11 #8
That simply isn't the case FBaggins Jun 11 #16
The founding fathers never thought there would be an ethical problem with a justice Bayard Jun 11 #20
Good idea. BlueKota Jun 11 #21
Of course they did. They impeached their first one about 15 years after creating the process FBaggins Jun 11 #26
Y'know, there are so many other egregious things to go after Alito about Novara Jun 11 #22
Alito's offhand expression of opinions about the ability of Congress to address ethics concerns on the Martin68 Jun 11 #23

EYESORE 9001

(26,347 posts)
1. I put this to those who know something about Constitutional law
Tue Jun 11, 2024, 07:57 AM
Jun 11

Does the Constitution address the issue of ethics on the Supreme Court?

EYESORE 9001

(26,347 posts)
5. So could this be considered investigation of impeachment-worthy actions?
Tue Jun 11, 2024, 08:45 AM
Jun 11

Let’s light this candle. No branch of government is beyond oversight from another branch, to my understanding. As I tend to think symmetrically, Congress seems the appropriate branch with SC oversight authority.

FBaggins

(27,018 posts)
6. Not even close
Tue Jun 11, 2024, 08:58 AM
Jun 11

As I mentioned below - Justice Kagan opined on the same issue shortly after Alito did.

But no… the stuff that has been in the news of late serves merely to embarrass a couple of justices. It has no value beyond influencing public perception of the court as right wing and political (hopefully encouraging voters to show up for Democrats to eventually fix the problem).

BlueKota

(2,221 posts)
9. Unfortunately Thomas and Alito
Tue Jun 11, 2024, 09:10 AM
Jun 11

are incapable of feeling embarrassed. Only people with a conscience have that ability, and it's blatantly clear neither of them possess one.

FBaggins

(27,018 posts)
10. Their lack of shame was never the issue
Tue Jun 11, 2024, 09:20 AM
Jun 11

They aren’t going anywhere and their opinion isn’t going to change. And Whitehouse doesn’t expect anything to come of this.

It’s all about filling news cycles with reasons for people to doubt the legitimacy of the court

BlueKota

(2,221 posts)
11. It's not the media scrutiny or an orchestrated campaign by
Tue Jun 11, 2024, 09:44 AM
Jun 11

the Democrats. It's their own actions that have brought the scrutiny and the taint of corruption upon the court.

Democrats aren't saints, but whatever they've done, pales in comparison to what Thomas and Alito have done.

I am really tired of the oh you are listening to the "media spin," or "political hype," arguments. In Alito's and Thomas' case there is actual proof of the money they have taken from wealthy Republican donors. There is actual proof Ginny Thomas played at the very least a perifrial part in the lead up to January 6. Then there is the upside down flag on the Alito's house of which their is photographic evidence.

But if you want to keep believing this court isn't corrupt and this is all much ado about nothing that's your right.

FBaggins

(27,018 posts)
12. Feel free to ask yourself why only a handful of Democrats in Congress seem to care
Tue Jun 11, 2024, 09:49 AM
Jun 11

I can’t think of one that is consistent with your reading of the situation

BlueKota

(2,221 posts)
13. Because they know they don't have the votes to impeach!
Tue Jun 11, 2024, 10:09 AM
Jun 11

Not because the evidence isn't there, but because there is no way any Republican would vote for it.

That isn't the same thing as Alito and Thomas aren't corrupt. Anymore than there weren't enough Republicans willing to vote for Trump to be removed meant he was innocent. If it walks like a duck, and it quacks like a duck, it's a duck. The evidence is there. That's what I base my take on the situation on. If there was no proof that Alito and Thomas took money from wealthy Republican donors then I'd agree it was hype and political gamesmanship. The money was given and accepted. It wasn't reported by the recipients. Those are the facts.

FBaggins

(27,018 posts)
14. Sorry... that doesn't come close to explaining it
Tue Jun 11, 2024, 10:27 AM
Jun 11

Why didn’t other senate Democrats even put their name on the letter requesting a response? Why wasn’t it a subpoena (we hold a majority on both committees and in the senate as a whole)? Why isn’t anyone else going on the Sunday shows making a big deal of the scandal?

BlueKota

(2,221 posts)
17. You obviously think Alito and Thomas shouldn't be
Tue Jun 11, 2024, 10:35 AM
Jun 11

questioned about their actions by anyone so again that's your right. Why even have a judicial oversight committee, if because only one of them asks it means that person's concerns have no validity?

I am done arguing. To me the money they accepted from partisans without making that knowledge public tells me all I need to know about their ability to remain impartial.

FBaggins

(27,018 posts)
19. I have said no such thing
Tue Jun 11, 2024, 10:40 AM
Jun 11

The problem is that the constitution intends for them to be not only “co-equal”… but also independent of the political branches. I would love for them to be questioned in an open hearing and subject to perjury… but that isn’t an option absent an impeachment

Grins

(7,399 posts)
15. It also has the power of the purse, and can expand the size of the Court...
Tue Jun 11, 2024, 10:28 AM
Jun 11

...and the number of court districts.

Justices are appointed to the federal courts for life, but there is no requirement that they have to serve on the court to which they were first appointed to for life.

Me? Get on the Court and serve for 10-years; after which the justice is subject to relocation to another federal Court. Let them rotate through the system.

FBaggins

(27,018 posts)
18. The power of the purse is quite limited in this regard
Tue Jun 11, 2024, 10:36 AM
Jun 11

They can of course expand the court (or add other subordinate courts)- but that isn’t likely to occur.

Your remaining fantasy is flat out. There is no chance of a scheme that effectively removes one or more of them from the top court going through… and it would be unanimous

Gore1FL

(21,257 posts)
27. Nothing in the Constitution says the Justices have to have a funded staff of clerks.
Tue Jun 11, 2024, 04:32 PM
Jun 11

The power of the purse can be as strong as they want to make it.

FBaggins

(27,018 posts)
29. That's true... but also irrelevant
Tue Jun 11, 2024, 05:03 PM
Jun 11
The power of the purse can be as strong as they want to make it.

And the power of the court can be as strong as they want to make it.

For instance - It has happened multiple times that courts have ruled that a state legislature must fund public education at a specific level. The state legislature had "the power of the purse"... but they could not use it to effectively defund public education. The US Constitution obviously mandates the existence of SCOTUS... it isn't much of a stretch to say that Congress can't defund them in a way that makes it harder to do their job.

And guess who gets the final word on that debate?

Martin68

(23,540 posts)
24. It would seem to me if Congress has the power to impeach and remove a justice, it also has the power to
Tue Jun 11, 2024, 04:18 PM
Jun 11

establish ethical guidelines that could be used to justify an impeachment.

FBaggins

(27,018 posts)
25. Of course - but only to the extent that they're involved in impeachment
Tue Jun 11, 2024, 04:26 PM
Jun 11

That's really just another way of saying that "an impeachable offense is whatever the current US House says that it is"... and they "say" that by holding an impeachment vote (or a vote to open an impeachment investigation).




Martin68

(23,540 posts)
28. If congress has the duty to impeach a justice, then it would seem to logically follow that they can establish ethical
Tue Jun 11, 2024, 04:38 PM
Jun 11

guidelines that would be used to determine whether a justice can be impeached or not before impeachment comes up. If not, then it would seem to suggest justices are not bound by any ethical code. That is absurd.

FBaggins

(27,018 posts)
30. That does not logically follow at all
Tue Jun 11, 2024, 05:06 PM
Jun 11

One Congress cannot tie the hands of the next in regard to a constitutional function.

They can publish any sort of statement or joint resolution that they like. But they can't put any teeth into it.

Let's say that Republicans don't like that Justice Sotomayor made almost $4million in book royalties. They can pass a joint resolution condemning it and declaring it impeachable. But when the next Congress gets sworn in... if there aren't a majority of the House willing to impeach... the resolution is worthless.

BumRushDaShow

(132,197 posts)
7. Did you note the difference?
Tue Jun 11, 2024, 09:00 AM
Jun 11

Alito's interview and opining about Congress having no authority, was done with a Leonard Leo lawyer -

The interview, Whitehouse noted, was conducted by David B. Rivkin, an attorney representing Leonard Leo, who, according to ProPublica's report, coordinated Alito's 2008 trip with GOP donor Robin Arkley II.


where Kagan's interview, which supported some type of "ethics reform", was done with the Dean for Notre Dame Law School - https://www.cnn.com/2023/09/22/politics/elena-kagan-speech-notre-dame-ethics-roberts/index.html

Much of the discussion by the Senate Judiciary Committee over the years has been getting some kind of "ethics" requirement for the Supreme Court. Period. That means ALL of them.

But you knew that, or maybe you choose to ignore it? Both sides is the rule of the day now?

https://www.judiciary.senate.gov/supreme-court-ethics-reform

https://www.judiciary.senate.gov/press/releases/durbin-whitehouse-statement-on-senate-judiciary-committee-advancing-supreme-court-ethics-reform-bill-to-full-senate

cab67

(3,067 posts)
8. There's a difference between what Alito said and what Kagan said.
Tue Jun 11, 2024, 09:04 AM
Jun 11

Justice Kagan stated that it would be good for the Supreme Court to adopt a code of conduct. She was speaking of something her own branch of government could do voluntarily.

Justice Alito questioned the ability of Congress to impose one. He was discounting the capacity of a co-equal branch of government to serve as a check on his own.

FBaggins

(27,018 posts)
16. That simply isn't the case
Tue Jun 11, 2024, 10:31 AM
Jun 11

She spoke specifically of Congress” authority to regulate the Supreme Court.

Bayard

(22,654 posts)
20. The founding fathers never thought there would be an ethical problem with a justice
Tue Jun 11, 2024, 11:31 AM
Jun 11

If Dems retake the House, will there be enough votes to expand the Supreme Court? Make the unethicals inconsequential?

BlueKota

(2,221 posts)
21. Good idea.
Tue Jun 11, 2024, 12:24 PM
Jun 11

I am just hoping we get the opportunity. I still don't trust them to honor the election results even if we win by a landslide.

FBaggins

(27,018 posts)
26. Of course they did. They impeached their first one about 15 years after creating the process
Tue Jun 11, 2024, 04:31 PM
Jun 11
If Dems retake the House, will there be enough votes to expand the Supreme Court?

Absent a miracle beyond all knowing at this point? No.

We can't win WV - and if we win every single competitive senate race we still end up with a 50-50 senate.

Novara

(5,963 posts)
22. Y'know, there are so many other egregious things to go after Alito about
Tue Jun 11, 2024, 01:06 PM
Jun 11

Like his admitting he won't be impartial. Like him flying insurrectionist symbols. Like his fucking voting record, which demonstrates that he can't be impartial. For his utter mendacity.

Creating a confrontation over whether or not Congress has authority seems pretty minor in comparison.

Martin68

(23,540 posts)
23. Alito's offhand expression of opinions about the ability of Congress to address ethics concerns on the
Tue Jun 11, 2024, 04:16 PM
Jun 11

Supreme Court is absolutely improper for a sitting justice. Alito should resign or be impeached.

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