SCOTUS Conservative Majority Could Be Taken Away, And It Wouldn't Even Require Expanding the Court
Left-wing activists masquerading as judicial reform advocates are trying to dilute the conservative majority of the U.S. Supreme Court by using the pretext of stricter “ethics codes” to force recusals.
The net result could be eroding the power of the current 6-3 Republican-appointed majority without expanding the court — a radical move many liberals have been pushing to make the court swing left.
The guidelines in the “Model Code of Conduct for U.S. Supreme Court Justices” could have forced Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas to recuse himself from cases involving the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol incursion because his wife, Ginni, had advocated for the 2020 election to not be certified because she believed the results were marred by fraud.
The 27-page document was compiled by the left-wing Lawyers Defending American Democracy and the Project on Government Oversight, a government watchdog that self-identifies as nonpartisan but takes money from liberal donors.
The proposed guidelines would expand the code of conduct that applies to Supreme Court justices to include their spouses and other family members.
“In addition to the existing prohibition on a judge’s participation in political activity, our proposed code of conduct calls for Justices to refrain from participating in activities that would cast doubt on their impartiality, including appearing before organizations with partisan or ideological agendas,” they say under the heading “Prohibited Conduct.”
“Finally, it would recognize that certain conduct by a spouse or other close family members of a Justice would require that Justice to recuse.”
Under “Canon 1: A Justice Shall Uphold the Integrity,” the guidelines say, “Of particular note, a Justice and the Justice’s close family members shall refrain from engaging in political or other activity that presents the appearance that the Justice cannot fairly and independently consider the merits of legal questions presented to the Court or that the Justice or their close family members are exploiting the judicial position.
“A justice should step aside from a case when these activities present the appearance of partiality.”
While Ginni Thomas is not mentioned by name, the word “spouse” is peppered 14 times throughout the proposed guidelines.
Even columnist Nina Totenberg of left-wing NPR acknowledged how this is designed to work: “Such a provision would clearly have forbidden Justice Clarence Thomas from participating” in Jan. 6 cases, she wrote last week.
The disingenuous left-wing argument is that Thomas is too biased to fairly adjudicate any 2020 election-related cases because his wife is a conservative activist.
Thomas’ former law clerk, Carrie Severino, who’s president of the Judicial Crisis Network, said the so-called code of conduct is a ruse to disempower conservative justices.
“This is putting the fox in charge of the hen house,” she told the Washington Examiner.
Severino said the Project on Government Oversight is one of many “left-wing dark money groups” trying to “force ethically unnecessary recusals of the justices because they don’t like the current composition of the Supreme Court.”
It’s laughable when any left-wing group claims to champion impartiality when all the levers of propaganda in American society — the media, academia, Hollywood and Big Tech — are run by liberals who show open contempt for conservatives.
The timing of this push for a stricter, expanded code of ethics is also curious.
SCOTUS Code of Conduct by The Western Journal
Why wasn’t there this same outcry in 2016, when then-Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg publicly trashed then-presidential candidate Donald Trump?
“He is a faker,” Ginsburg said in July of that year. “He has no consistency about him. He says whatever comes into his head at the moment. He really has an ego.”
While the justice, who died in 2020, had the right to free speech like every other American, as a federal judge she was bound to a longstanding code of judicial ethics aimed at preventing the appearance of partisan bias.
With her anti-Trump statements, Ginsburg violated Canon 5 of the Code of Conduct, which says a federal “judge should not publicly endorse or oppose a candidate for public office.”
Predictably, there was no left-wing outrage over the liberal justice’s unprofessional, partisan remarks. More notably, Ginsburg did not recuse herself from Trump administration cases during his presidency.
The new ethics guidelines proposed by left-wing advocacy groups also would prevent justices from appearing before partisan groups such as the conservative Federalist Society or the liberal American Constitution Society.
This seems a bit extreme, and it could quickly devolve into a slippery slope where the so-called code of conduct could be frivolously weaponized to intimidate, manipulate or silence a Supreme Court justice.
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.