Skip to content

Senate Judiciary Committee Votes to Authorize Subpoenas for Harlan Crow and Leonard Leo

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL), Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, today released the following statement after the Senate Judiciary Committee voted to authorize subpoenas for Harlan Crow and Leonard Leo relating to the Committee’s Supreme Court ethics investigation:

“Senate Judiciary Committee Democrats’ goal all along has been to ensure that like all other federal judges, Supreme Court justices are bound by an enforceable code of conduct.  Today’s vote to issue subpoenas to Harlan Crow and Leonard Leo—two individuals who have refused to comply with this Committee’s legitimate oversight requests for months and are at the center of the Supreme Court’s ethical crisis—furthers that goal.

“The highest court in the land cannot have the lowest ethical standards.”

Durbin delivered an opening statement at the Senate Judiciary Committee executive business meeting today to consider authorizing subpoenas for Harlan Crow and Leonard Leo. Video of Durbin’s opening statement is available here.

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. 

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. The information obtained from today’s subpoenas will help inform this legislative effort.