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Senate Judiciary Committee advances Supreme Court ethics bill on party lines

Senate Judiciary Committee approves Supreme Court ethics bill along party lines.

Senate Judiciary
Image Source: SEPTEMBER 3, 1990 Senator Strom Thurmond (R-SC) sits next Senator Joe Biden (D-DE.) chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee during the Justice Souter confirmation hearings. (Shutterstock: @mark reinstein)

Ladies and gentlemen, we’ve got some drama unfolding in the hallowed halls of the Senate Judiciary Committee! They’ve just passed a legislation proposal requiring the nine justices of the Supreme Court to adopt a binding code of ethics. Now, this may sound like a no-brainer, but hold on tight, because there’s a catch.

The committee vote was 11-10 along party lines, with the Democrats supporting the bill and the Republicans opposing it. The proposal is set to move to the full Senate, but the odds of it passing there are looking slim, my friends. The Senate is narrowly divided, and the Republicans have made it clear that they’ll do everything in their power to torpedo this bill.

But what’s the big deal with this ethics bill, you may ask? Well, it’s all about holding the Supreme Court to the same ethical standards as other public servants in the federal government. Democrats have been urging the court to adopt its own ethics guidelines for years, and they believe it’s long overdue.

The bill doesn’t stop at just a code of ethics. It also includes provisions to strengthen recusal requirements, align hospitality and financial disclosure rules with Congress, set transparency guidelines for amicus briefs, and allow the public to submit ethics complaints against the justices. Sounds like a comprehensive package to ensure transparency and accountability, right?

But here’s the twist – Republicans on the committee are standing their ground, vowing to vote against the bill if it reaches the Senate floor. They argue that this is a partisan, dangerous, and unserious attempt to reform the court. They claim that Democrats are trying to destroy the court as it exists, and they’re worried about threats to judicial independence and separation of powers.

Democrats, on the other hand, are not buying it. They argue that Congress has the power to make amendments to laws it has passed and to oversee agencies it has created. They’re frustrated with the court’s slow approach to adopting an enforceable code of ethics on its own.

While the justices signed a “Statement on Ethics Principles and Practices” in April, Democrats found it inadequate and are pushing for a more formal code of ethics. This legislation is their latest attempt to make it happen.

So, my friends, we’ve got a showdown on our hands – a battle of ethics and principles in the highest court of the land. Will the bill make it through the Senate, or will it face defeat? Only time will tell, but one thing’s for sure – this is a political drama worth watching!

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