BLOOMINGTON – U.S. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL), Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, released the following statement regarding ProPublicareporting providing the fullest public account yet of Justice Clarence Thomas’ undisclosed gifts and troubling ethical conduct, to the tune of at least 38 destination vacations, 26 private jet flights, and numerous other luxury gifts:
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“The latest ProPublica revelation of unreported lavish gifts to Justice Clarence Thomas makes it clear: these are not merely ethical lapses. This is a shameless lifestyle underwritten for years by a gaggle of fawning billionaires.
“Justices Thomas and Alito have made it clear that they are oblivious to the embarrassment they have visited on the highest court in the land. Now, it is up to Chief Justice Roberts and the other Justices to act on ethics reform to save their own reputations and the integrity of the Court. If the Court will not act, then Congress must continue to.”
The Senate Judiciary Committee advanced the Supreme Court Ethics, Recusal, and Transparency Act to the full Senate on July 20. The bill would require the Supreme Court Justices to adopt a code of conduct, create a mechanism to investigate alleged violations of the code of conduct and other laws, improve disclosure and transparency when a Justice has a connection to a party or amicus before the Court, and require Justices to explain their recusal decisions to the public.
Durbin has been calling on the Supreme Court to adopt an enforceable code of conduct for more than a decade. He first sent a letter to the Chief Justice on this issue more than 11 years ago.
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