Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito spoke to The Wall Street Journal about congressional oversight.
“No provision in the Constitution gives them the authority to regulate the Supreme Court,” he said.
The statement comes after months of news reports of ethical impropriety by members of the high court.
After months of news reports documenting instances of Supreme Court justices breaking judicial ethical standards and Democratic lawmakers pushing for a code of conduct to be implemented, conservative Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito revealed in an interview that he doesn’t believe that Congress has any authority to tell the court what to do.
“Congress did not create the Supreme Court,” Alito said in an interview with The Wall Street Journal. “I know this is a controversial view, but I’m willing to say it. No provision in the Constitution gives them the authority to regulate the Supreme Court — period.”
He added that while he can’t speak for the other justices, he thinks it’s “something we have all thought about.”
The comments perturbed at least two Democratic members of Congress.
Following the article’s publication, Rep. Ted Lieu took to Twitter to remind Alito that Congress does have some oversight of the Supreme Court.
“Dear Justice Alito: You’re on the Supreme Court in part because Congress expanded the Court to 9 Justices,” Lieu tweeted. “Congress can impeach Justices and can in many cases strip the Court of jurisdiction. Congress has always regulated you and will continue to do so. You are not above the law.”
Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse also noted on Twitter that he believes that Alito is part of what he called a “captured court.”
One of the authors of the article who interviewed Alito, David B. Rivkin, is litigating a tax case, Moore v. US, in front of SCOTUS during the court’s next term.
SCOTUS did not immediately return Insider’s request for comment.
In April, GOP mega-donor Harlan Crow and SCOTUS Justice Clarence Thomas first faced scrutiny related to the 20 years worth of undisclosed trips Crow is accused of gifting to Thomas, per ProPublica. The outlet later reported that Crow purchased Thomas’ mother’s house and allowed her to live there without paying rent.
In response, Thomas — who asked for an extension to file his financial disclosure forms this year — said that at the time he wasn’t aware that he was meant to disclose the trips with Crow.
Crow claimed to the Dallas Morning News that the revelations about his relationship with Thomas were a “political hit job.”
In June, ProPublica unearthed that Alito had taken a luxury fishing trip with GOP billionaire Paul Singer, who later had cases before the court. Alito claimed that they never discussed cases on the trip, on which he boarded Singer’s private plane.
Congress has probed Crow’s and Thomas’s relationship, as well as Alito’s dealings, asking for a detailed disclosure of the gifts bestowed to Supreme Court justices.
A group of judges, the Committee on Financial Disclosure, is investigating Thomas and SCOTUS disclosure rules, while Senate Democrats have mounted a separate attempt to investigate Thomas and impose a code of ethics on the court.
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