CHICAGO – U.S. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL), Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, issued the following statement regarding ProPublica’s investigative report with new details of Justice Clarence Thomas’s secret participation in donor summits organized by billionaires Charles and David Koch:
“Once again, Justice Thomas’s gaggle of fawning billionaires expands and their influence on the Court grows larger. The Koch brothers are the architects of one of the largest, most successful political operations in history, aimed at influencing all levels of government and the courts. Justice Thomas hid the extent of his involvement with the Koch political network and never reported gifts associated with these engagements.
“The Koch network has invested tremendous capital to overturn longstanding legal precedent known as Chevron deference, which would handcuff regulators and serve the interests of corporate fat cats. As more details are revealed of Justice Thomas’s undisclosed involvement with the Koch political network, there are serious questions about his impartiality in cases squarely confronting the Chevron doctrine. For these reasons, I’m calling on Justice Thomas to recuse himself from consideration of Loper Bright v. Raimondo.”
The Senate Judiciary Committee advanced the Supreme Court Ethics, Recusal, and Transparency (SCERT) Act to the full Senate on July 20. 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.