Senate Democrats to move Supreme Court ethics bill

Senate Democrats are planning to try moving legislation on Supreme Court ethics on the floor this week, the latest step in their lengthy back-and-forth with conservative justices in the past year.

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) told reporters that Democrats will attempt to move the ethics bill, which he authored with Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), via unanimous consent. A Durbin spokesperson said the UC request would happen on Wednesday.

A Republican senator is widely expected to deny consent.

“We’re planning on making a move on the floor this week to move the ethics bill for the Supreme Court,” Durbin said, adding that “there may be some new evidence that comes out” related to ethics at the Court.

Durbin, the No. 2 Senate Democrat, said the evidence is not related to the recordings of Justice Samuel Alito and his wife, Martha-Ann, that emerged on Monday.

“It relates to the ethical considerations from some of the justices for gifts they’ve taken and not reported,” he said.

Democrats have been calling for the ethics bill to receive a vote on the floor, especially as Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) holds votes to put Republicans on the record on hot-button issues.

The Supreme Court rolled out a new code of ethics in November, but Democrats say its impact is blunted by the ability for each justice to enforce it upon themselves.

Durbin and Democrats have been stonewalled at almost every turn regarding the court, especially over reported lavish gifts some conservative justices, including Alito and Justice Clarence Thomas, have received throughout the years.

Democrats have increased the pressure after reports of a pair of flags flown over Alito’s homes, including an upside-down American flag over his Alexandria, Va., residence in the days surrounding Jan. 6, 2021, and President Biden’s inauguration.

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