Sen. Durbin reveals Democrat plan to legislatively impose new ethics standards on independent Supreme Court

July 7, 2023
Ben Marquis

The past several months have seen a concerted and coordinated series of leftist media attacks, echoed by activists and Democratic politicians, that raise allegations of ethical failures and partisanship against the Supreme Court more broadly and members of the conservative-leaning majority specifically.

That assault continued on Thursday by way of Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Dick Durbin (D-IL), who announced that his Democrat-controlled committee would soon move forward with legislation to impose strict ethical standards on the Supreme Court, the Washington Times reported.

Durbin's move will undoubtedly face staunch opposition from Senate Republicans and will almost certainly go nowhere in the Republican-controlled House, but his tactic will nonetheless likely succeed in advancing the fraudulent narrative that the conservative-leaning Supreme Court is illegitimate and in dire need of likely unconstitutional congressional oversight.

Durbin announces plan to move forward with SCOTUS ethics reform bills

In his Thursday statement that followed the conclusion of the Supreme Court's most recent term, Sen. Durbin lamented that "many questions remain at the end of the Court’s latest term regarding its reputation, credibility, and ‘honorable’ status."

"I’m sorry to see Chief Justice Roberts end the term without taking action on the ethical issues plaguing the Court -- all while the Court handed down decisions that dismantled longstanding precedents and the progress our country has made over generations," the Illinois senator continued.

"The highest court in the land should not have the lowest ethical standards," Durbin said. "That’s why, as I previously announced, the Senate Judiciary Committee will mark up Supreme Court ethics reform legislation when the Senate returns after the July 4th recess. An announcement on the timing of this vote will be made early next week."

"Since the Chief Justice has refused to act, the Judiciary Committee must," the Democratic chairman added.

The idea, as laid out in Durbin's press release, is essentially to override the "Ethics Principles and Practices" that already govern members of the Supreme Court in terms of financial disclosures and recusals and instead replace them with the same sort of ethical standards that have been imposed on executive and legislative branch officials and politicians and on lower courts that Congress has some measure of sway over.

The left's assault on the Supreme Court's legitimacy

What this really is all about, according to National Review's Editorial Board in May, is a continuation of the progressive left's unrelenting assault on the legitimacy of the Supreme Court that began in the 1980s, if not earlier, when Democrats lost the decades-long control they once held over the highest court in the land.

"The apocalyptic tone of left-wing commentary since the Court overturned Roe has now evolved into a smear campaign against the integrity of the originalist wing of the Court, a rash of stories all curiously appearing in serial rollout suggesting financial compromise or corruption on the part of Justices Gorsuch, Roberts, and Thomas," NR's editors wrote, as well as Justice Alito, though the smears against him commenced more recently.

"That the claims are spurious when not outright farcical is beside the point; the point is to throw enough dust into the air to trigger a 'where there’s smoke there must be fire' instinct in low-information voters," the editors observed.

All part of a broader plan to destroy the "independent American judiciary"

All of that said, National Review noted, "The originalist Court isn’t going anywhere for the time being, nor will it be moved by political intimidation. Democrats lack the votes to pack the Court or remove any of the justices. The authors of this media push have priced this in. This is the opening move in a longer war against the legitimacy of the Supreme Court as a whole."

"Activists have concluded that since they lack ideological control over the Court in the short term, it must be delegitimized in anticipation of an attempt to unilaterally expand it or otherwise neuter it when Democrats next gain significant majorities in both houses of Congress during a Democratic administration," the editors continued.

They concluded, "Even were they to regain unified control of Congress and the White House, progressives see the Supreme Court as the last remaining obstacle to an unchecked wish list of Democratic policy dreams. As a result, they are seeding the ground for a future political revolution: the destruction of the independent American judiciary."

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