Justice Samuel Alito says Congress lacks the power to impose a code of ethics on the Supreme Court (SC), the first member of the court to speak against proposals in Congress to toughen ethics rules for justices in response to reports of corruption involving justices and their wives, Mark Sherman reported for the Associated Press (AP).
Photo Insert: “I know this is a controversial view, but I’m willing to say it. No provision in the Constitution gives them the authority to regulate the Supreme Court—period,” Alito said.
“I know this is a controversial view, but I’m willing to say it. No provision in the Constitution gives them the authority to regulate the Supreme Court—period,” Alito said in an interview he gave to the Wall Street Journal opinion pages.
An account of the interview was published Friday. Democrats last week pushed SC ethics legislation through a Senate committee, though the bill’s prospects in the full Senate are dim.
All federal judges other than the justices already adhere to an ethics code developed by the federal judiciary. But the SC’s status — it’s the only federal court created by the Constitution — puts it outside the reach of those standards that apply to other federal jurists.
Democrats first sought to address that after ProPublica reported earlier this year that Justice Clarence Thomas joined lavish vacations and had a real estate deal with a top GOP — and after Chief Justice John Roberts declined to testify before the committee about SC ethics.
Alito had taken a luxury vacation in Alaska with a Republican donor who had business interests before the court.