Dem 51
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Senate Committee May Pass Bill Requiring Supreme Court to Adopt Ethics Standard

The Senate Judiciary Committee is going to vote today on a bill to require the Supreme Court to adopt a code of ethics. It would also require the Court to have standards for recusal. The bill leaves it to the Court to devise the code and standards, but at least it would have something, however weak. The bill's sponsor, Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), said: "Today, in the court that dark money built, the honor system has flagrantly failed. We need to legislate, we need to investigate and we need to fix this mess for the American people."

The ranking member of the Judiciary Committee, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), didn't see the whole point of it. He said: "It's up to them. They're a separate branch. Let them fix it." The Democrats have a majority, so the bill will be voted out of committee with a recommendation to pass, but when it is brought up for a vote, the Republicans will filibuster it. Still, that will give Democrats ammo next year to say: "The Court is Supremely corrupt and Republicans want to keep it that way." Given Democrats' unhappiness about Supreme Court decisions on abortion, student loans, affirmative action, and other things, this just piles it on and makes Republicans complicit. Running against an activist Supreme Court out of control might drive Democratic turnout next year.

There is no chance whatsoever a bill that got through the Senate could pass the House. Kevin McCarthy said last week: "I think the Supreme Court, with three separate branches of government, has the ability to oversee themselves." Forget the bill, at least for now. It is not going to happen before Jan. 3, 2025 at the earliest. (V)

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