US Supreme Court, Washington, DC
S Supreme Court in Washington, DC. Photo credit: Thomas Hawk / Flickr (CC BY-NC 2.0)

No Republicans voted in favor of the creation of a code of ethics for the Supreme Court when the Senate Judiciary Committee took up that measure.

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Republicans on Thursday showed that they have zero appetite for instituting a code of ethics at the Supreme Court. And why should they? Conservative justices hold six seats on the court, and we know that at least two of them are severely ethically compromised. Therefore, the last thing the GOP wants is accountability.

Right now, it is just about impossible to remove a Supreme Court justice from the bench. Once judges gets a lifetime appointment, they can do just about whatever they want until they retire or die.

Does it matter if they misled Congress during their confirmation hearings? No. Can they legislate from the bench with no concern for precedent? Absolutely. Can they use their majority to turn back the clock and take the US back to a time much more to their liking where people other than wealthy whites knew their place? You betcha.

The Supreme Court Wants You to Party Like It’s 1776

So, with a stranglehold on the Supreme Court majority, why would any Republican agree to coming up with mandatory set of ethics? Currently, when the likes of Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito allow right-wing billionaires to shower them with lavish gifts and trips without reporting them, there is no recourse. They can just hide behind wishy washy guidelines.

But if there were an actual set of rules, there might end up official investigations and some sort of punishment. Any maybe, too many repeat or egregious violations might end up opening another avenue for getting a justice kicked off the bench. As a Republican, that’s not something you can support if you know that two of your own would be first in line for those probes.

At the very least, that would result in unwanted attention to what those right-wing billionaires have been up to over the past decades to remake America, and that’s the last thing any GOP lawmakers want.

Therefore, it is not surprising that zero Republicans voted in favor of the creation of a code of ethics for the Supreme Court when the Senate Judiciary Committee took up that measure yesterday.

Instead, they said they could not support this “attack on the court.”

Well, a code of ethics is not an “attack” if you plan on playing by the rules.

Ostensibly, this should not be difficult.

If you hold a lifetime appointment as the ultimate arbiter of policy in the US, then you should not accept anything of value from anybody, especially not from people who have or may in the future have business before you.

And, for that matter, neither should you have your staff try to spur sales of your books.

During the hearing on Thursday, Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) said that the bill mandating the Supreme Court to come up with a code of ethics “is not about oversight or accountability. It’s about harassing and intimidating the Supreme Court.”

But is it, though, if you write these rules and then abide by them?

It sure is curious that the party that preaches personal responsibility seems to have a real problem with transparency and accountability for those with money and power.


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