Sherrill Steps Up to Hold Supreme Court Justices Accountable and Restore Trust in the High Court

 

WATCH: Sherrill Speaks at the Supreme Court

Congresswoman Sherrill, a former Assistant U.S. Attorney and Navy veteran, introduced the Supreme Court Ethics and Investigations Act. This bill spearheaded by Sherrill and her Democratic colleagues aims to restore public trust in the Supreme Court and comes in direct response to recent, high profile ethical scandals at the Court, including by Justices Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito.

The legislation would establish a dedicated investigative body and ethics counsel within the Supreme Court that would provide transparency and accountability through exhaustive investigations into alleged ethical improprieties and reports to Congress on its findings.

“Our Supreme Court Justices take the same oath that I took when I first entered the Naval Academy at age 18: to bear true faith and allegiance to our Constitution. But it’s become clear that certain members of the court have abandoned that oath to serve not our country and Constitution – but their own personal, political interests,” said Rep. Sherrill. “After flagrant ethics violations from Justices Thomas and Alito, it’s time for Congress to bring accountability and oversight to the bench. That’s why I’m proud to help introduce The Supreme Court Ethics and Investigations Act to establish real ethics counsel and oversight for Justices and restore public trust in our nation’s highest court.”

You can watch Sherrill’s remarks here.

The Supreme Court Ethics and Investigations Act:

  1. Establishes an Office of Ethics Counsel within the Court to advise justices on ethical matters
  1. Provides ethics training and advice to justices and their spouses through dedicated ethics counsels
  1. Establishes an Office of Investigative Counsel within the Court to probe potential instances of ethical impropriety by justices and report to Congress on compliance
  2. Provides Congress the ability to submit ethics complaints to the Office of Investigative Counsel and delivers reports on those complaints in a timely manner

Following recent reporting of ethical lapses from Supreme Court Justices, public trust in the Court has eroded to historically low levels. Most recently, it was reported that Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito had – on two separate occasions – displayed political symbols at his properties. One of the symbols – an upside-down American flag – is closely associated with the ‘Stop the Steal’ movement, and its display poses a clear conflict of interest, yet Justice Alito has refused to recuse from cases related to the January 6 attacks on the Capitol or the 2020 election. The other – an ‘Appeal to Heaven’ flag – which flew outside Justice Alito’s New Jersey beach home, was carried by insurrectionists on January 6th and is closely associated with right-wing Christian nationalist movements. Sherrill has been an outspoken critic of the Justice’s association with these political symbols.

Earlier this year, it was revealed that Justice Thomas failed to disclose gifts and travel from political activist Harlan Crow with at least one trip valued at over $500,000. Reports have also revealed that Crow bought properties from Justice Thomas and his relatives for at least double what Justice Thomas had said those properties were worth. Justice Thomas’ family received up to $750,000 in income yearly from a firm that has not existed since 2006.

In response, Congresswoman Sherrill pressed Chief Justice John Roberts to establish an ethics counsel and independent investigative body to adopt the same common sense ethics standards that apply to all other federal judges throughout the country.

Additionally, it was reported that Justice Alito accepted extravagant gifts from major conservative donors including Paul Singer, a hedge fund billionaire who has repeatedly asked the Court to rule on his business dealings. The allegations that Justice Alito accepted a paid-for vacation that totaled hundreds of thousands of dollars from Leonard Leo, who had recently played a significant role in Justice Alito’s confirmation process, further serve to undermine the legitimacy of the court.

Congresswoman Sherrill prosecuted federal cases and advised law enforcement on investigations as an Assistant United States Attorney in the District of New Jersey. She also served as an Outreach and Re-Entry Coordinator who created programs to develop trust between law enforcement and the communities they serve.

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2 responses to “Sherrill Steps Up to Hold Supreme Court Justices Accountable and Restore Trust in the High Court”

  1. I feel such sorrow that the United Staes needs to pass this legislation. Shame on the current group that made this a needed change.
    The current court has pushed it to the point we must have this law passed.
    Even if you love their ignoring the law for their own agenda, just ask yourself if, when the Court shifts to radical left, will you wish this law had passed?

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