Senator Whitehouse Dons His "Dark Money" Tinfoil Hat Yet Again

Senator Sheldon Whitehouse has donned his "dark money" tinfoil hat yet again. Unsurprisingly, Senator Whitehouse dubbed his first hearing as chairman of Senate Judiciary Committee's Subcommittee on Federal Courts, Oversight, Agency Action and Federal Rights: "What's Wrong with the Supreme Court: The Big-Money Assault on Our Judiciary."

As the Cato Institute's Ilya Shapiro wrote for Newsweek:

The hearing was kabuki theater at best. After representatives from left-wing organizations railed against Supreme Court decisions, the Federalist Society and Republicans generally, two witnesses addressed those drive-by calumnies. Case Western law professor Jonathan Adler, who edited a book called Business and the Roberts Court, refuted the myths that the Court has some sort of improper business-oriented bias. Scott Walter of the Capital Research Center detailed how the money flowing from progressive organizations dwarfs their conservative counterparts. I submitted written testimony, which focused on three things: (1) allegations that the Republican-appointed justices vote in lockstep; (2) problems with the Judicial Ads Act that was introduced in the last Congress to counteract "Court capture"; and (3) insinuations that filers of amicus briefs represent the cat's paw of various industry interests.

Prior to last Wednesday's hearing, the Wall Street Journal Editorial Board noted how the hearing was a disrespectful, veiled threat against against the Supreme Court:

Sheldon Whitehouse is at it again. The Senator who threatened the Supreme Court with retribution over a gun-rights case in 2019 is now threatening Congressional action if the Justices don’t follow his orders on how they conduct judicial business. 

On Wednesday the Rhode Island Democrat will hold a Judiciary Committee hearing on “What’s Wrong with the Supreme Court: The Big-Money Assault on Our Judiciary.” Subtlety is not Sheldon’s speciality. The hearing is intended to advance his Amicus Act that would force the Court to change its rules on amicus briefs, which the Justices invite to inform them on the law and facts on cases.

Note the disrespect for the Court. The title of the hearing signals a foregone conclusion that the Justices are corrupted by money. This is a running theme of Mr. Whitehouse, whose preoccupations in the Senate have been undermining judicial independence and restricting the First Amendment rights of private citizens to influence their government. 

Senator Whitehouse's perpetual "dark money" conspiracies aren't the only reason he's in the news this week. Last Thursday, Senator Whitehouse sent a letter to newly-confirmed Attorney General Merrick Garland suggesting, among other things, that the FBI's background investigation into then-Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh may have been "fake."

As reported by the New York Post:

A Democratic senator suggested that the FBI background check on sexual assault claims against Brett Kavanaugh, then a nominee to the Supreme Court, in 2018 may have been “fake” and wants newly minted Attorney General Merrick Garland to assist in an investigation, according to a report Tuesday.​

Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee that held Kavanaugh’s contentious confirmation hearing, ​is calling on Garland to assist the Senate as it questions how thoroughly the FBI conducted the investigation, the Guardian reported. . .

​He said he wants answers about “how, why and at whose behest” the FBI conducted a “fake” investigation and whether the claims collected in the “tip line” followed the standard of other allegations gathered by tips. 

The Department of Justice told The Hill that Senator Whitehouse's letter have been received and is being reviewed by the Department.

Hopefully, Attorney General Garland will have the fortitude to resist the Senate Democrat's efforts to continue the character assassination of Supreme Court Justice Kavanaugh perpetuated by Democrats during his confirmation hearings in 2018.