Democrats’ Phony ‘Ethics’ Legislation Is A Smokescreen For Their Ongoing Attacks On The Legitimacy Of The Supreme Court

‘The Supreme Court Is Not In Crisis When It Refuses To Reliably And Predictably Advance Democrats’ Priorities’


SENATE REPUBLICAN LEADER MITCH McCONNELL (R-KY): “Last month, the Supreme Court wrapped up its productive term by deciding some especially consequential decisions in favor of equal protection and executive restraint. In response, Washington Democrats offered a fresh example of just how profoundly they misunderstand the Court and its role in our government. The President who has flirted with calls for court-packing warned ominously that a co-equal branch was ‘not a normal court’. The Democratic Leader who threatened Justices by name from the steps of the Court branded it as ‘MAGA’. And this month, the Judiciary Committee will attempt to force the Court to restructure itself in the name of ‘ethics’…. The Supreme Court is not in crisis when it refuses to reliably and predictably advance Democrats’ priorities. The Court is not in crisis when it puts the text of our laws above politics. The Supreme Court is a co-equal branch of government. And it should continue to do its job.” (Sen. McConnell, Remarks, 7/10/2023)

  • LEADER McCONNELL: “It’s just an effort to try to target this new Supreme Court. If they can’t get their way on the merits, they go after the Court itself. Chuck Schumer, for example, went over to the Supreme Court and called out two of the members by name and said they’d pay a price if they ruled a certain way. When they can’t get their way before the Court, they simply try to destroy the reputation of the Court…. They’ll do anything to try to destroy the Courts and they’ve had some success in driving down the approval rating of the Supreme Court.” (“The Hugh Hewitt Show,” 7/13/2023)
  • LEADER McCONNELL:When Democrats complain about a crisis at the court, the crisis they see is its refusal to reliably advance their party’s priorities. They bemoan a conservative majority that puts jurisprudence above politics. Well, the evidence suggests that anyone who expects the court to function as a mere extension of legislative power is bound to be disappointed. This latest term demonstrates that no party wins or loses before the Supreme Court every time. The court adheres to the Constitution and weighs each case on its merits. It should continue to do exactly that. (Sen. McConnell, Op-Ed, “Mitch McConnell: Neither Party Can Count On The Supreme Court To Be Its Ally,” The Washington Post, 7/10/2023)


It’s Obvious That Democrats’ ‘Ethics Ruse Is An Attempt To Intimidate And Control The Justices By Other Means,’ ‘An Unseemly Effort By The Democratic Left To Destroy The Legitimacy’ Of The Supreme Court

SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R-SC), Senate Judiciary Committee Ranking Member: “[W]e all have been in the boat of getting an outcome the Supreme Court [we] wouldn’t like. But the Majority Leader of the United States Senate went before the Court, literally out in front of it, and threatened two judges … [W]e’re also going to talk about today of a concentrated effort by the left to delegitimize this court and to cherry pick examples to make a point…. This assault on Justice Thomas is well beyond ethics. It is about trying to delegitimize a conservative court that was appointed through the traditional process. Your response has been to pack the court…. This is an unseemly effort by the Democratic left to destroy the legitimacy of the Roberts Court has put people at risk, has put their personal safety at risk.” (U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee Hearing, 5/02/2023)

SEN. JOHN KENNEDY (R-LA), Senate Judiciary Committee Member: “They aren’t getting their way. They aren’t getting their way, so they want to change the rules. But the Constitution isn’t a game, folks … I’ve been disappointed by Supreme Court opinions too, but my Democratic colleagues should fill out a hurt feelings report and move on for the sake of the Constitution…. [This] is an excuse to sling more mud at an institution that some … Democrats don’t like because they can’t control it 100 percent of the time. And that’s a fact and everybody in this hearing room knows that. Until they get the outcome they want in every case, I fear they are going to continue to slander it in an effort to take control of it.” (U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee Hearing, 5/02/2023)

SEN. MIKE LEE (R-UT), Senate Judiciary Committee Member: “And [the Left] obviously can’t persuade the American people to adopt their radical policies through legislation, so they’re attempting to destroy the court’s credibility and intimidate the Republican appointed justices and their families, starting with Justice Thomas. They’re making clear that justices who disagree with them will pay a price, and it’s a price that the radical left is determined to ensure is very high. This is all just a thuggish shakedown. Nice Supreme Court you’ve got there, America. Sure would be a shame if something happened to it…. Democratic Senators are now threatening to defund the Supreme Court’s requested police protection of the justices and their families unless they adopt specific measures that those Senators demand. All these tactics, of course, are meant to harass and intimidate the court, specifically the justices appointed to the court by Republican presidents …” (U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee Hearing, 5/02/2023)

FORMER ATTORNEY GENERAL MICHAEL MUKASEY: “If the public has a mistaken impression that the integrity of the Court has been damaged, the fault for that lies for those who continue to level unfair criticism at the Court and its justices. It’s impossible to escape the conclusion that the public is being asked to hallucinate misconduct so as to undermine the authority of justices who issue rulings with which the critics disagree, and thus to undermine the authority of the rulings themselves.” (U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee Hearing, 5/02/2023)

THE WALL STREET JOURNAL EDITORIAL BOARD: “The Supreme Court has finished its business for the summer, but Senate Democrats never finish trashing the Justices. The Judiciary Committee that scoured Brett Kavanaugh’s high-school yearbook is preparing to pass new rules under the guise of ethics reform that are intended to put the Justices on a political leash. The effort is led by Rhode Island Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse and his more senior political front man, Judiciary Chairman Dick Durbin. They’re playing off recent media reports that claim ethics violations without showing any real violations. But that’s enough of an excuse for claiming to want to protect the Court’s reputation while actually destroying it.” (Editorial, “The Supreme Court Control Act,” The Wall Street Journal, 7/16/2023)

  • “Damaging the Court has been Mr. Whitehouse’s explicit goal since progressives lost their majority and the Court as a second legislature. In 2019 he and four other Senate Democrats wrote a notorious amicus brief in a gun-rights case that said ‘the Supreme Court is not well.’ The brief threatened, mob-style, that if the Court didn’t ‘heal itself,’ it might have to be ‘restructured.’ Democrats don’t currently have the votes to break the Senate filibuster and pack the Court, but watch out when they do. Meantime, their ethics ruse is an attempt to intimidate and control the Justices by other means. It deserves to be called out as a betrayal of the Constitution that would destroy judicial independence.” (Editorial, “The Supreme Court Control Act,” The Wall Street Journal, 7/16/2023)


Led By Extreme Far-Left Activists, Democrats Are Shamefully Attacking The Legitimacy Of The Supreme Court For Purely Political Reasons

Far-Left Pressure Groups Aren’t Even Hiding The Naked Politics Behind Their Assaults On The Court: ‘Start Taking On The Court Rhetorically As A Political Villain,’ ‘We’d Like To Amplify Anyone Who Uses This Corruption/Legitimacy Messaging’

“[P]rogressive activists and leading members of [the Democratic Party] have been urging: Go beyond just disagreeing with the court’s decisions and attack it as an institution. Single out its six conservative justices as corrupt MAGA Republicans who are in the pocket of special interests. Question the conservative court’s very legitimacy.” (The New York Times, 7/13/2023)

“Adam Green, the co-founder of the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, has urged Democratic politicians to accuse the court of having a ‘legitimacy crisis.’ ‘We’d like to amplify anyone who uses this corruption/legitimacy messaging,’ Mr. Green wrote to lawmakers a few weeks ago. ‘Do you think your office can work this line into public statements as decisions come down?’ ‘Critiquing the institution, if done at a high crescendo, hopefully gets the court to be on their best behavior in the future,’ Mr. Green said.” (The New York Times, 7/13/2023)

“Brian Fallon is troubled by the impact of all the recent rulings, but he isn’t letting that distract him from trying to put in place the political foundation for a seismic change: expanding the number of justices on the Supreme Court … Five years ago, Fallon, who has previously held senior jobs with Senator Chuck Schumer, Attorney General Eric Holder, and 2016 presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, launched the advocacy group Demand Justice.” (Vanity Fair, 7/03/2023)

  • FALLON: “Our approach [at Demand Justice] has been to try to be an insurgent and say, No, the whole thing is not on the level. And the people that tell you otherwise are just captive to the institution…. Start taking on the court rhetorically as a political villain …” (Vanity Fair, 7/05/2022)
  • FALLON:SCOTUS leaks are good. Elite lawyers on both the left and right treating the Court as precious all these years have just been giving cover to an institution that is wholly unaccountable. Rip the veil off.” (Brian Fallon, @brianefallon, Twitter, 5/03/2022)
  • FALLON: “Do I think Clarence Thomas is deserving of impeachment? Yes. Do I think he ought to resign? Yes.” (Vanity Fair, 7/03/2023)

SARAH LIPTON-LUBET, President of Take Back the Court Action Fund: “With its utter disregard for ethics, constitutional precedent, and the health and wellbeing of Americans, the Supreme Court has lost the public’s trust. The only way to rebuild faith in the Court is to restore balance, integrity, and independence by adding seats.” (Sen. Markey, Press Release, 5/16/2023)

KIMBERLY HUMPHREY, Legal Director of Alliance for Justice: “To address the injustice of stolen seats and broken trust, we must expand the number of justices on the Supreme Court … The nation’s highest court has been captured and rigged by radical extremists that flaunt a commitment to their partisan agenda with extreme rulings …” (Sen. Markey, Press Release, 5/16/2023)

DOUG LINDNER, Senior Director of Judiciary & Democracy at League of Conservation Voters: “Until Congress passes the Judiciary Act, these extremist Justices will only continue to put the interests of the fossil fuel industry and their partisan allies above the law while escalating their attacks on our democracy. To restore equal justice under law and pass on a healthy environment and democracy to the next generation, Congress must swiftly expand and rebalance this extremist Court.” (Sen. Markey, Press Release, 5/16/2023)

Dark Money Group Demand Justice Is Even Making Support For Court-Packing A Litmus Test In Democratic Primaries

DEMAND JUSTICE: “With a 6-3 Republican supermajority, the Supreme Court is too biased in favor of special interests and Republican politicians. Our democracy is at risk from decisions that suppress the right to vote. Adding four seats is the solution—and we need your help to get it done…. Now, top Democrats have introduced a bill to add seats and restore balance, and more than 40 members of Congress have signed on in support.” (Demand Justice, Accessed 1/31/2022)

FALLON: “[W]e’re going to be endorsing candidates that are running in federal races based on their support for the Judiciary Act, which would add four seats to the Supreme Court…. [W]e want it to become second nature for candidates to have to say that they’re for reforming the court if they want to win a Democratic primary in the future.” (Vanity Fair, 7/05/2022)

  • FALLON: “Expanding the Supreme Court is the most important thing Congress can do to root out the corruption and extremism that has made the judiciary an existential threat to our rights and our democracy. Since the Judiciary Act was first proposed, the Supreme Court has continued to show it is dangerous, corrupt, and in need of reform.” (Sen. Markey, Press Release, 5/16/2023)
  • FALLON: “We need reform of the third branch of the government. We must look at expanding the number of justices on the Court to ensure a future Democratic president has the chance to fill two or more seats on the Court.” (Brian Fallon, Remarks, 12/05/2018)
  • FALLON: “Democrats are officially done being complacent about the courts…. Our goal is to build consensus for this plan as quickly as we have seen Democrats align around the need to abolish the Senate filibuster. Expanding the Court is every bit as necessary for restoring our democracy.”  (Sen. Markey, Press Release, 4/15/2022)


Democrats Have Repeatedly Threatened, Attacked, And Attempted To Delegitimize The Supreme Court Over The Last Several Years

“[P]rogressive activists and leading members of [the Democratic Party] have been urging: Go beyond just disagreeing with the court’s decisions and attack it as an institution. Single out its six conservative justices as corrupt MAGA Republicans who are in the pocket of special interests. Question the conservative court’s very legitimacy…. The idea is catching on with some of the president’s leading allies.” (The New York Times, 7/13/2023)

  • FALLON: “Schumer is doing it, calling them a radical MAGA court. Elizabeth Warren has been doing it.” (Vanity Fair, 7/05/2022)

PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN: “This is not a normal court.” (The New York Times, 7/13/2023)

THEN-SEN. KAMALA HARRIS (D-CA): “We are on the verge of a crisis of confidence in the Supreme Court… We have to take this challenge head on, and everything is on the table to do that.” (“2020 Dems Warm To Expanding Supreme Court,” Politico, 3/18/2020)

Chuck Schumer Stood On The Steps Of The Supreme Court And Threatened Justices If They Didn’t Rule The Way He Wanted In A Case

SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D-NY): “I want to tell you, Gorsuch; I want to tell you, Kavanaugh: You have released the whirlwind, and you will pay the price. You won’t know what hit you if you go forward with these awful decisions.” (“Roberts Rebukes Schumer For Saying Justices Will ‘Pay The Price’ For A Vote Against Abortion Rights,” The Washington Post, 3/04/2020)

SCHUMER: “The fanatical MAGA right have captured the Supreme Court and achieved dangerous, regressive policies…” (Sen. Schumer, Press Release, 6/30/2023)

In An Amicus Brief, Several Senate Democrats Threatened The Supreme Court With Being ‘Restructured’ If The Justices Did Not Rule The Way They Wanted In A Case

SENS. SHELDON WHITEHOUSE (D-RI), DICK DURBIN (D-IL), MAZIE HIRONO (D-HI), RICHARD BLUMENTHAL (D-CT), and KIRSTEN GILLIBRAND (D-NY): “The Supreme Court is not well. And the people know it. Perhaps the Court can heal itself before the public demands it be ‘restructured in order to reduce the influence of politics.’” (New York State Rifle & Pistol Association, Inc. v. City of New York, Brief Of Senators Sheldon Whitehouse, Mazie Hirono, Richard Blumenthal, Richard Durbin, And Kirsten Gillibrand As Amici Curiae In Support Of Respondents, 8/12/2019)

ALL SENATE REPUBLICANS: “[O]ur colleagues did more than raise legal arguments in favor of mootness.  They openly threatened this Court with political retribution if it failed to dismiss the petition as moot…. Democrats in Congress, and on the presidential campaign trail, have peddled plans to pack this Court with more justices in order to further their radical legislative agenda.  It’s one thing for politicians to peddle these ideas in Tweets or on the stump. But the Democrats’ amicus brief demonstrates that their court-packing plans are more than mere pandering. They are a direct, immediate threat to the independence of the judiciary and the rights of all Americans.” (Republican Senators, Letter to Scott S. Harris, Clerk for the Supreme Court of the United States, 8/29/2019)

Sheldon Whitehouse Has Dedicated A Series Of Speeches To Undermining The Legitimacy Of The Supreme Court, Calling It ‘Rotten,’ And Has Outrageously Painted Justices As Stooges For Corporations

SEN. SHELDON WHITEHOUSE (D-RI): “The American people may not be able to see all of the rot, but they can see enough to know that something is rotten over there across First Street at that Court. We must set it right.” (Sen. Whitehouse, Remarks, 11/16/2021)

  • WHITEHOUSE: “This commission served its purpose of killing time for the administration to avoid confronting the deep rot at the Supreme Court. The American people are fast losing confidence in the independence of the Court, and who can blame them? Either we grapple with the Court’s very real and very big problems, or, as Justice Sotomayor said, the persistent ‘stench’ of the Republican majority’s partisan decisions will damage this precious institution beyond repair.” (Sen. Whitehouse, Press Release, 12/7/2021)
  • WHITEHOUSE: “[L]et’s get real. You don’t apply gale-force political pressure for judges who are just going to call balls and strikes…. You want judges who will throw the game for you. You want what you paid for—a captured Court. And if you look at its track record, that is this Court. It is the Court that dark money built, and it is delivering.” (Sen. Whitehouse, Remarks, 9/20/2021)

WHITEHOUSE: “You have a captured court that people understand is captured, running amok without recourse.” (New York Magazine, 4/11/2023)

Whitehouse Even Smeared The Chief Justice, Saying He Should ‘Have NASCAR-Style Corporate Badges On His Robes’

WHITEHOUSE: “At his hearing, Justice Roberts infamously said he would just call balls and strikes, but this pattern … of the Roberts Five qualifies him to have NASCAR-style corporate badges on his robes.” (U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee Hearing, 9/04/2018)

WHITEHOUSE: “Gorsuch is the single most corporate-friendly Justice on a Court already full of them, ruling for big business interests …” (U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee Hearing, 9/04/2018)

During An Impeachment Trial, Elizabeth Warren Called Into Question The ‘Legitimacy Of The Chief Justice, The Supreme Court, And The Constitution’

SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (D-MA): “At a time when large majorities of Americans have lost faith in government, does the fact that the Chief Justice is presiding over an impeachment trial in which Republican senators have thus far refused to allow witnesses or evidence contribute to the loss of legitimacy of the Chief Justice, the Supreme Court, and the Constitution?” (Congressional Record, S.717, 1/30/2020)

Other Democrat Senators Spew Venom At ‘A Stolen, Illegitimate, And Far-Right Supreme Court’

SEN. RICHARD BLUMENTHAL (D-CT): “In its radical extremism and ethical blindness, the nation’s highest court seems to put itself above the law, answerable to no one.” (Sen. Blumenthal, Press Release, 6/30/2023)

SEN. MAZIE HIRONO (D-HI): “Regardless of whether they try to do it or not, there have already been discussions about what we can do with our courts to make them much more balanced in many ways… Because the majority of the judges are white, male, young, with a particular orientation, ideological orientation.” (“Democrats Warn GOP: Don’t Fill A Supreme Court Vacancy In 2020 Or We’ll Retaliate,” NBC News, 8/3/2020)

SEN. ED MARKEY (D-MA): “We have a stilted, illegitimate, 6-3 conservative majority on the court that has caused this crisis of confidence in our country” (Sen. Markey, Remarks, 4/15/2021)

  • MARKEY: “A stolen, illegitimate, and far-right Supreme Court is responsible for making life-or-death decisions on issues from abortion rights to gun control to voting rights. That’s why we are building a national movement to expand the court...” (Sen. Markey, @EdMarkey, Twitter 10/26/2021)

SEN. TINA SMITH (D-MN): “People don’t have to live under constant fear of the Supreme Court. We can’t sit on our hands while these justices carry out the bidding of right wing organizations. Expand the Court.” (Sen. Smith, @SenTinaSmith, Twitter, 6/30/2023)

SEN. JOHN FETTERMAN (D-PA):These Justices don’t care about the rule of law. This is a YOLO court, and if they’re wondering why so many Americans no longer have trust in the institution, they have only themselves to thank.” (Sen. Fetterman, @SenFettermanPA, Twitter, 6/30/2023)

SEN. JEFF MERKLEY (D-OR): “Five unelected justices acting as a super legislature are rolling over Americans’ rights. We are in big trouble. I won’t stop fighting to #PassWHPA and codify abortion care for all into federal law.” (Sen. Merkley, @SenJeffMerkley, Twitter, 5/02/2022)

House Democrat Leaders Have Joined In Too, Saying, ‘I Don’t Trust The Supreme Court One Bit’ And Declaring ‘The Supreme Court Majority Has Zero Legitimacy,’ Suggesting The ‘Ghosts Of The Confederacy Are Alive And Well’

FORMER HOUSE SPEAKER NANCY PELOSI (D-CA): “I don’t trust the Supreme Court one bit…. Even the court cases they have decided in our favor, they said they will revisit, and it’s just appalling.” (“Nancy Pelosi: All Trump SCOTUS Justices Should Recuse From Election Decisions,” Huffington Post, 10/30/2020)

HOUSE MINORITY LEADER HAKEEM JEFFRIES (D-NY): “The Supreme Court majority has zero legitimacy. Ghosts of the confederacy are alive and well.” (Rep. Jeffries, @RepJeffries, Twitter 2/08/2022)

Democrats Have Even Introduced Legislation In Both Houses Of Congress To Pack The Supreme Court With Partisan Ideologues

In May of this year, Sen. Ed Markey (D-MA) reintroduced his radical bill to pack the Supreme Court, S. 1616. (S.1616, 118th Congress)

A group of House Democrats also introduced a companion bill to pack the Supreme Court, H.R. 3422. (H.R.3422, 118th Congress)

  • The bill is also cosponsored by far-left House Democrats including Reps. Adam Schiff (D-CA), Katie Porter (D-CA), Cori Bush (D-MO), Rashida Tlaib (D-MI). Ilhan Omar (D-MN), Mark Pocan (D-WI), Jamaal Bowman (D-NY), Ayanna Pressley (D-MA), Pramila Jayapal (D-WA), and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY). (H.R. 3422, 118th Congress)



Related Issues: Supreme Court, Senate Democrats