Justice Alito just said that Congress has NO authority to regulate the Supreme Court KossyDerrickBlog KossyDerrickEnt

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Friday, July 28, 2023

Justice Alito just said that Congress has NO authority to regulate the Supreme Court

Alito just said that Congress has NO authority to regulate the Supreme Court.

Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito publicly opposed efforts by Democratic lawmakers to impose a code of ethics on the court, telling the Wall Street Journal Congress doesn’t have “authority” to regulate it, marking the first public comments by one of the justices about lawmakers’ ongoing efforts to force ethics rules on the court—as justices reportedly fail to take any action on imposing a code of conduct themselves.

“I know this is a controversial view, but I’m willing to say it,” Alito told the Journal. “No provision in the Constitution gives them the authority to regulate the Supreme Court — period.”

Although the Constitution enables Congress to structure the lower federal courts, it explicitly vests judicial power within a singular Supreme Court. 

Alito and some legal observers argue that means Congress can’t prescribe certain regulations for the high court without running afoul of separation of powers issues.

The piece also revealed Alito’s first public comments on the recent ethics push since he authored an op-ed for the same paper that was shared just before a ProPublica investigation into an undisclosed Alaskan fishing trip the justice accepted in 2008 paid for by a conservative donor was made public. Alito also conducted an interview with the Wall Street Journal in April.

The push for the court to adopt a code of ethics came in response to a series of ethics controversies that have come out involving the court’s justices—including Alito, who the New York Times reported may have leaked the ruling in 2014’s Burwell v. Hobby Lobby to a conservative donor, and who ProPublica reported accepted a luxury fishing trip from billionaire Paul Singer without disclosing it, even as Singer’s hedge fund had business before the court.

He believes Congress doesn’t have the power to force the court to impose an ethics code, saying “Congress did not create the Supreme Court” and that while it might be “controversial” to say so, “No provision in the Constitution gives [lawmakers] the authority to regulate the Supreme Court—period.”

No other justices have commented on the pending legislation, and Alito told the Journal while he “do[esn’t] think I should say” how his colleagues feel about the issue, “it is something we have all thought about.”

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