Durbin Statement on Justice Alito's Refusal to Rescue Himself in Moore v. U.S.
Durbin: “Why do these Justices continue to take a wrecking ball to the reputation of the highest court in the land?”
CHICAGO – U.S. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL), Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, issued the following statement after Justice Samuel Alito refused to recuse himself in Moore v. United States:
“Justice Alito, of the originalist school of thinking that empty seats on an airplane don’t count as gifts, surprises no one by sitting on a case involving a lawyer who honored him with a puff piece in the Wall Street Journal. Why do these Justices continue to take a wrecking ball to the reputation of the highest court in the land?
“The Court is in a crisis of its own making, and Justice Alito and the rest of the Court should be doing everything in their power to regain public trust, not the opposite. This episode is further proof that Chief Justice Robert’s failure to act remains untenable, and Congress needs to pass the SCERT Act to create an enforceable code of conduct. Supreme Court Justices should be held to the highest ethical standards, not the lowest.”
On August 3, Durbin urged Chief Justice Roberts to address Justice Alito’s conduct and requested Alito’s recusal in a letter, also signed by U.S. Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Chris Coons (D-DE), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Alex Padilla (D-CA), and Peter Welch (D-VT).
The Senate Judiciary Committee advanced the Supreme Court Ethics, Recusal, and Transparency (SCERT) Act to the full Senate on July 20. The bill would require Supreme Court Justices to adopt a code of conduct, create a mechanism to investigate alleged violations of the code of conduct and other laws, improve disclosure and transparency when a Justice has a connection to a party or amicus before the Court, and require Justices to explain their recusal decisions to the public.
Durbin has been calling on the Supreme Court to adopt an enforceable code of conduct for more than a decade. He first sent a letter to the Chief Justice on this issue more than 11 years ago.
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