Senator demands chief justice to ‘show some spine’ on court corruption

Sen. Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut says Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito’s refusal to recuse himself “absolutely defies common sense and credibility.” 

“What Justice Alito is doing, in fact, is dragging down the credibility of the court, destroying American people’s trust in the court by these kinds of flimsy excuses that fail to pass the red-face test,” he told CNN’s Kaitlan Collins.

Alito’s refusal comes after reports that upside-down flags were displayed outside of his properties, symbolizing an allegiance to the Jan. 6 insurrection and “Stop the Steal” right-wing movement. Alito has gone so far as to blame his wife for being “fond of flying flags” in a cowardly attempt to excuse his lack of ethics. But unfortunately, as Blumenthal noted, “There is no enforceable code of conduct.”

“I urge that there be an inspector general for the Judicial Conference. I urge that there be an enforceable code of conduct,” he said, pointing out that, while the Republican Party would need to cooperate, conservative Chief Justice John Roberts could—and should—lead the way. 

“Roberts has a responsibility here to show some spine and step into the breach,” he added. “I think that we in the Senate ought to hear an explanation from him. I think he owes it to Congress and to the American people. I have no hope that Justice Alito would even obey a subpoena.”

In a New York Times op-ed Wednesday, Rep. Jamie Raskin of Maryland argued that just “because the highest court in the land has the lowest ethical standards” doesn’t mean that there is no recourse. 

“The U.S. Department of Justice—including the U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia, an appointed U.S. special counsel and the solicitor general, all of whom were involved in different ways in the criminal prosecutions underlying these cases and are opposing Mr. Trump’s constitutional and statutory claims—can petition the other seven justices to require Justices Alito and Thomas to recuse themselves not as a matter of grace but as a matter of law,” he said.

Blumenthal agreed that while this was something he imagined the DOJ was “reluctant” to do, “Justice Alito and Justice Thomas are continuing to defile and defile those basic standards and norms of decency and ethics.” 

“I think the time has come for some pretty drastic action,” he said, “because the American people are losing trust in the Supreme Court.”

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