Supreme Court releases joint statement condemning attacks on Justice Thomas

May 1, 2023
Robert Ayers

The justices of the U.S. Supreme Court just released a rare statement condemning the recent attacks that we have seen from the Democrats on Justice Clarence Thomas. 

The letter is specifically in response to the call for a new approach to Supreme Court ethics.


The Democrat-led Senate Judiciary Committee wants to put forth new legislation that would provide for independent oversight of the Supreme Court Justices in terms of ethics. This is opposed to the current approach, in which the justices voluntarily adhered to a general code of conduct.

The calls for increased oversight come from the Democrats, and they follow recent reporting that has tried to claim that Thomas has violated ethics rules by failing to report some of the trips that he has taken with Dallas businessman is real estate magnate Harlan Crow.

The Democrats have tried to use this as a basis to remove Thomas from the court, and they are also trying to use this as a basis for changing the judiciary's approach to ethics.

The Senate Judiciary Committee, which is considering such a proposal, asked Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts to appear at a hearing to discuss the court's current approach to ethics.

The statement recently released by the Supreme Court is the justices' response to the Senate Judiciary Committee's request.

Roberts declines the invitation

At the outset, Roberts makes it clear that he will not be appearing before Congress.

The statement reads:

Testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee by the Chief Justice of the Untied States is exceedingly rare, as one might expect in light of separation of powers concerns and the importance of preserving judicial independence.

Roberts goes on to note that this has only happened twice in history and that "both hearings involved routine matters of judicial administration relating to additional judgeships in the lower courts and jurisdiction over appeals from lower court injunctions."

So, Roberts said that he will not be appearing.

The justices oppose a new approach to ethics

The justices, however, did include a "statement on ethics principles and practices," to help the Senate Judiciary Committee out.

The statement does two things: first, it argues against the new approach to Supreme Court ethics that has been proposed, and, second, it highlights the recent increased targeting of the justices.

The justices write:

A word is necessary concerning security. Judges at all levels face increased threats to personal safety. These threats are magnified with respect to Members of the Supreme Court, given the higher profile of the matters they address. Recent episodes confirm that such dangers are not merely hypothetical.

All nine Supreme Court justices signed on the letter. This obviously is not the response that Senate Democrats were looking for.

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