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Congressional standoff over Supreme Court escalates


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The Hill

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Dick Durbin’s (D-Ill.) call for Chief Justice John Roberts to testify before Congress about the Supreme Court’s ethical standards is sparking a firestorm on Capitol Hill as Republicans accuse the Democratic chairman of trying to ensnare court in a media “circus.”

Republicans say Durbin is trying to pressure Roberts to respond to reports by ProPublica that conservative Justice Clarence Thomas failed to properly disclose the gifts he received from a Texas billionaire, including private jet travel and the sale of a property in which Thomas owned a third interest.  

They point out that it’s extremely rare to call on a sitting chief justice to testify before Congress and that when it happens, it’s usually before the Senate or House Appropriations Committees to discuss the court’s annual budgetary needs.  

“I would not recommend that the chief accept his invitation because it will be a circus,” Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) said.  

Cornyn, a senior member of the Judiciary panel, said he couldn’t remember a chief justice being called before the Judiciary Committee before.  :snip:

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Chief Justice John Roberts summoned to Capitol Hill

Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts is facing rising calls from Democratic lawmakers to get more involved in scrutinizing details surrounding Justice Clarence Thomas‘s undisclosed luxury trips.

 

Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, sent a letter to Roberts on Thursday asking that he or another justice of his choosing appear before the Senate panel for testimony on May 2.

 

Durbin has limited the request to questions surrounding Supreme Court ethics issues amid mounting scrutiny over trips Thomas made that were paid for by Texas billionaire businessman Harlan Crow.:snip:

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