Torrey also suggested that the only possible ethical violation or conflict of interest that could exist in the court is a monetary one. He wrote that Alito was allowed to accept meals and lodging from the couple to which he allegedly leaked the Hobby Lobby decision because the couple “never had a financial interest in a matter before the Court.”
“In addition, the term ‘gift’ is defined to exclude social hospitality based on personal relationships as well as modest items, such as food and refreshments, offered as a matter of social hospitality,” Torrey wrote.
The “gifts” are of course the least of the issue. The issue is the coziness of Alito—and other conservatives—with activists who have ideological interests in the outcome of cases. Or in the case of Thomas, are sleeping with insurrectionists and not recusing from cases involving that.
Whitehouse and Johnson were scathing in response, saying that the “Court’s letter is an embodiment of the problems at the Court around ethics issues.”
“Unlike all other federal courts, there is no formal process for complaints; it took a Senator’s and a Congressman’s repeated letters to galvanize a response,” the pair said. “Unlike all other federal courts, there is no formal process for fact-finding inquiry.”
The court, they suggest, could just be making up whatever they want to say because there is absolutely no transparency in how the court does (or does not) deal with ethical concerns. “The assertions of fact by the Court’s lawyer emerge from darkness, and overlook important facts like all the contemporaneous evidence that Mr. Schenck in fact knew both the outcome and author in advance and acted at that time on that knowledge.”
“Unlike all other federal courts, there is no independence—no formal process of independent review” they continued. “That absence of independence violates the ancient maxim, nemo judex in sua causa: no one should judge their own cause.” (Whitehouse loves him some Latin.)
“These multiple failures of orderly process are peculiar, coming from the highest Court in the land. Procedure is the bone structure of justice,” they conclude.
As the final results of the 2022 midterm elections came into focus this past week, the lack of clarity in the GOP’s leadership also became apparent. Kerry and Markos break down what this means for Democratic voters going forward and how Donald Trump’s campaign for president is a lose lose proposition for Republicans.
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