Yesterday’s Senate Judiciary “Supreme Court Ethics Reform” hearing had three Senators who took the spotlight, representing the good, the bad, and the ugly.
The good was Republican Senator John Kennedy who totally destroyed Democrat witness Kedric Payne of the Campaign Legal Center.
Senator Kennedy slams the biased Twitter posts of a key witness, who called some justices "politicians in robes who thrive in a system where access and influence are for sale" and said Chief Justice John Roberts was "a disgrace." pic.twitter.com/6DLEXqf1oW— The Article III Project (A3P) (@Article3Project) May 2, 2023
While the Perry Mason moment was fun, it also makes a serious point when Mr. Payne admits that “I don’t believe that Justices are for sale.” This undermines much of his and his fellow liberals' argument for holding the hearing. As Senator Kennedy said:
In the last month, some – not all — but some Democrats and their media allies hyped up attempted hit pieces on every Republican-appointed Supreme Court justice except for one. They tried going after Justice Kavanaugh for buying baseball tickets, Justice Alito for having dinner with people who gossip, the wife of Chief Justice Roberts for hiring good lawyers, Justice Gorsuch for selling land in an LLC, which he properly disclosed, to a major donor to the Democratic Party, for God’s sake, who he’s never even met, and Justice Thomas for having a rich friend. Justice Barrett, if you’re listening, I hope you don’t have library books overdue. If recent history is any indicator, you’re next.
Today’s hearing is an excuse to sling more mud at an institution that some – not all – some Democrats don’t like because they can’t control it 100 percent of the time – and that’s a fact, and everybody in this hearing room knows that. Until they get the outcome they want in every case, I fear they are going to continue to slander it in an effort to take control of it – and I pray to God I am wrong.
Judiciary Chairman Dick Durbin was having a bad day. He failed so bad that even his liberal allies were upset.
Durbin had two main defenses for holding the hearing. First, Durbin repeatedly pushed the talking point that Democrats are trying to protect the Justices who are under attack. But as Josh Hawley pointed out:
To underscore this point:— Josh Hammer (@josh_hammer) May 3, 2023
Many Senate Dems signed an appropriations letter attempting to cut $10 million from the SCOTUS budget. As the case may be, $10 million is the precise amount requested by the Court for additional security protection.
Last year's Dobbs decision likely precipitated Tuesday's hearing. Durbin’s own history proves this.
In response to charges that he was only holding the hearing and wrote a letter to the Court requesting their testimony because he was upset at the Dobbs' decision, Durbin tried to argue that his dedication to Supreme Court ethics was not a new topic for him since he first wrote a letter on ethics to the Supreme Court in 2011.
Until the Dobbs case, the worst Supreme Court decision to Durbin was Citizens United. The case was decided a year before his first letter. In other words, Durbin responded the same way he did last time to a decision that he really disliked.
Durbin just looked bad yesterday.
Arguably, the star of the hearing was someone who was not even there, Democrat Senator Schumer. Schumer’s ugly words were cited by almost all the GOP Senators on the Committee as a source of the real problem—the assault on the legitimacy of the Court.
Flashback:— Carrie Severino (@JCNSeverino) May 2, 2023
“I want to tell you, Gorsuch. I want to tell you, Kavanaugh. You have released the whirlwind, and you will pay the price. You won’t know what hit you if you go forward with these awful decisions.” - Senator Chuck Schumerpic.twitter.com/MTzFviUsa8
Senator Kennedy got the last word:
“I remember the Democratic leaders’ words of March 4, 2020, on the steps of the United States Supreme Court like they were yesterday. I want to tell you Gorsuch,’ he said, not ‘Justice Gorsuch,’ but ‘Gorsuch,’ ‘I want to tell you Gorsuch, I want to tell you Kavanaugh, you have released the whirlwind and you will pay the price. You won’t know what hit you if you go forward with these awful decisions.’ Wow. Just wow. I think Matthew 12:36 is correct, ‘for by thy words you shall be justified and by thy words you shall be condemned.'”
“Now the sad truth is, that some, not all, some of my Democratic colleagues have been on a crusade to undermine the United States Supreme Court’s legitimacy and the credibility of the federal judiciary for years,” he continued.