Committee will move forward with a vote to authorize issuing subpoenas to Crow and Leo
WASHINGTON – U.S. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL), Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, today announced that the Senate Judiciary Committee will no longer vote to authorize issuing a subpoena to Robin Arkley II at this time as it relates to the Committee’s Supreme Court ethics investigation after he provided the Committee with information that he had been withholding. The Committee will move forward with a vote to authorize issuing subpoenas to Harlan Crow and Leonard Leo.
“Months ago, I, along with my Democratic colleagues on the Committee, sent letters to Harlan Crow, Robin Arkley, and Leonard Leo, among others, seeking details about what exactly has been provided to Supreme Court justices. Our goal has been to understand how specific individuals and groups with business before the Court have used undisclosed gifts to gain private access to the justices—access not afforded to others.
“Leonard Leo has refused to cooperate in any way. Harlan Crow claimed he was willing to cooperate, but ultimately made only a limited and insufficient offer. Only now, under threat of subpoena, has Mr. Arkley provided information responsive to the Committee’s requests. Given his cooperation, I’ve decided that voting to authorize a subpoena to Mr. Arkley is not necessary at this time.
“I do not request authorization to issue subpoenas lightly. Over the past several months, story after story has emerged about lavish gifts and luxury trips that Supreme Court justices have accepted and failed to disclose. The Senate and the American people deserve to know the full extent of how billionaires and activists with interests before the Court use their immense wealth to buy private access to the justices. That is why, tomorrow, the Judiciary Committee will vote to authorize subpoenas to Harlan Crow and Leonard Leo. The highest court in the land cannot have the lowest ethical standards.”
Last week, Durbin and Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Chair of the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Federal Courts, Oversight, Agency Action, and Federal Rights, announced that the Senate Judiciary Committee will vote to authorize issuing subpoenas to Harlan Crow, Leonard Leo, and Robin Arkley II as it relates to the Committee’s Supreme Court ethics investigation.
In July, the Senate Judiciary Committee advanced the Supreme Court Ethics, Recusal, and Transparency (SCERT) Act to the full Senate. The bill would require 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.