Senate Democrats are taking their Supreme Court ethics investigation to the “next step” as they seek subpoenas of Republican donors and activists.
Senate Judiciary Committee Chair Dick Durbin called out the alleged “ethical crisis” that the high court is caught up in, announcing on social media that the investigation is moving ahead and he hopes to subpoena GOP donors Harlan Crow and Robin Arkley II as well as Leonard Leo, a lawyer and conservative legal activist.
The investigation is centered on gifts and other benefits reportedly enjoyed by Supreme Court justices and the impact that may have had on pending cases.
“The Supreme Court is in an ethical crisis of its own making,” Durbin, D-Ill., said in his announcement Monday.
“In order to adequately address this crisis, it is imperative that we understand the full extent of how people with interests before the Court are able to use undisclosed gifts to gain private access to the justices,” the Democrat added.
I just announced: I’m asking the Senate Judiciary Committee to grant me authorization to issue subpoenas to Harlan Crow, Leonard Leo, and Robin Arkley II – the next step in our Supreme Court ethics investigation. pic.twitter.com/FSWcKVN3wS
— Senator Dick Durbin (@SenatorDurbin) October 30, 2023
“The inquiries the Committee has sent to Harlan Crow, Leonard Leo, and Robin Arkley are critical to this work,” Durbin said.
According to the lawmaker, Crow, Arkley, and Leo have “either refused to comply or offered to produce certain limited information that fell well short of what the Committee needs and to which it is entitled.” This led to the Senate Judiciary Committee being “forced to seek compulsory process,” according to Durbin.
“Thanks to investigative reporting, we now know that for decades, some justices have been joining billionaires with business before the Court on their private planes and yachts or receiving gifts such as private school tuition for a family member,” Durbin claimed. “And it is through this reporting that we learned the justices have not been disclosing these gifts as required by federal laws that expressly apply to them.”
He went on to accuse the justices of allowing “private access” to donors.
“By accepting these lavish, undisclosed gifts, the justices have enabled their wealthy benefactors and other individuals with business before the Court to gain private access to the justices while preventing public scrutiny of this conduct,” he said.
Durbin took a direct shot at Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts, saying he “could fix this problem today and adopt a binding code of conduct.”
“As long as he refuses to act, the Judiciary Committee will,” Durbin stated.
Leo responded to Durbin in a letter and told Fox News Digital in a statement: “I will not bow to the vile and disgusting liberal McCarthyism, that seeks to destroy the Supreme Court simply because it follows the constitution rather than their political agenda.”
Crow’s office also responded with a statement saying, “It’s disappointing that one party on the Committee would choose to pursue an unnecessary, partisan, and politically motivated subpoena instead of simply reciprocating Mr. Crow’s good faith efforts at a reasonable compromise that respects both sides. We offered extensive information responsive to the Committee’s requests despite the serious constitutional and privacy concerns presented to the Committee, which were ignored and remain unaddressed.”
“Notably, the Committee has already passed the legislation for which it says the information it has requested is supposedly necessary. It’s clear this is nothing more than a stunt aimed at undermining a sitting Supreme Court Justice for ideological and political purposes,” the statement continued. “Mr. Crow, a private citizen, won’t be bullied by threats from politicians. However, as previously conveyed to the Committee, we remain committed to respectful cooperation and a fair resolution.”
Editor’s Note: This post was updated to include statements from Harlan Crow and Leonard Leo.
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