Billionaire Harlan Crow and Leonard Leo subpoenaed: Republicans WALK OUT of meeting after slamming Democrats’ Supreme Court ethics escalation as a ‘complete JOKE’ and accuse Dick Durbin of ‘destroying’ the integrity of the committee with ‘charade’
Senate Republicans expressed outrage at Democrats’ push to escalate their ethics investigation at the Supreme Court with a vote today to greenlight subpoenas to billionaires linked to top conservative judges, calling it an outright “joke.”
Billionaire Harlan Crow and conservative judicial fundraiser Leonard Leo are in the firing line of liberal lawmakers for failing to meet demands for documents and itemized information about gifts — including transportation and lodging — to Justices Samuel Alito and Clarence Thomas.
“This is about an ongoing effort to destroy this court,” Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., shouted at the start of the Senate Judiciary Committee’s business meeting Thursday.
“The consequences to this committee far outweigh any potential benefits,” Graham said of the subpoenas to Crow and Leo.
“This is a never-ending attempt to delegitimize this court,” he continued, calling it a “sham” and an act of “political” theater at the expense of the commission’s good work.
Democratic Judiciary Committee Chairman Dick Durbin said the information from Leo and Crow is “critical to understanding how individuals and groups with cases before the court gain private access to the judges.”
All Republicans in the room except Graham dramatically stormed out of the meeting as Democrats voted by roll call to authorize the issuance of subpoenas to Crow and Leo to provide the requested documents, sparking a massive escalation of their investigation .
Conservative Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas (left) disclosed that Republican billionaire Harlan Crow (right) paid for a trio of his private flights in financial disclosure forms
“This is about an ongoing effort to destroy this court,” said Senator Lindsey Graham
But Republicans have pushed back hard in the run-up to the vote.
Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, accused Democrats of embarking on a “witch hunt” against conservative judges.
‘Democrats are breaking Senate Judiciary Committee rules by issuing subpoenas as part of a witch hunt against Supreme Court justices they don’t like,” he wrote on X.
“Democrats despise Judges Thomas and Alito and are trying to intimidate them and their friends by issuing subpoenas. In their attempts to do so, they ignore the law and violate the rules of the Judiciary Committee,” he continued.
The liberal senators are simply continuing their “smear campaign” against Judge Clarence Thomas, Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, who serves on the Judiciary Committee, previously told DailyMail.com during an exclusive interview.
Cruz said the committee Democrats are “completely hypocritical and partisan in how they’re approaching this.”
‘They have no interest in a generic revision of the ethical code at the court. Instead, they are engaged in a years-long effort to delegitimize the Supreme Court because they are outraged that it is the only branch of government they do not control.”
In particular, he accused Democrats of waging a “cruel and nasty smear campaign” against Judge Thomas.
Cruz says he is open to revising the code of ethics for judges. including the Supreme Court, but it raises issues of separation of powers.
Earlier this month, the Supreme Court issued an ethics code in an effort to shore up collapsed public trust following a series of revelations that donors showered judges with secret gifts and lucrative property deals.
The nine judges insisted they had long been bound by ethical standards and that recent criticism was the result of “misunderstandings” and not missteps on their part.
“To dispel this misunderstanding, we are issuing this code, which largely represents a codification of principles that we have long regarded as guiding our behavior,” they said.
However, Cruz says Democrats are employing a complete double standard by “demonizing” Thomas for accepting travel gifts both at home and abroad, while ignoring liberal justices who are doing the same.
And it is “indisputably clear” that they can do so under existing ethics rules — both conservative and liberal judges, he said.
In August, Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas has announced this Crow paid for his private flights and meals on three trips in 2022.
Crow’s legal team has called the Democrats’ move “nothing more than a stunt aimed at undermining a sitting Supreme Court justice for ideological and political purposes.”
“We have offered comprehensive information in response to the committee’s requests, despite the serious constitutional and privacy issues presented to the committee, which were ignored and remain unaddressed,” they said in a statement.
Leo is under scrutiny after ProPublica reported a previously undisclosed 2008 fishing trip with billionaire Paul Singer, which he helped organize.
But Leo has said he will not provide the requested information about the trip because it exceeds the authority of Senate Democrats.
Senator Ted Cruz says Democrats are engaging in a complete double standard by ‘demonizing’ Thomas for accepting travel gifts both at home and abroad, while ignoring liberal justices who are doing the same
He said in a statement that he “will not bow to the vile and disgusting liberal McCarthyism, which the Supreme Court wants to destroy simply because it follows the Constitution and not their political agenda.”
During Thursday’s business meeting, Republicans also rejected Democrats’ push to put forward “far-left radical” judicial nominees without allowing them to debate them.
‘Mr. Chairman, you just destroyed one of the most important committees in the United States Senate. You have set a precedent that will be repeated every time one side or the other takes advantage and takes the low road – it sets a precedent that will then become the norm,” said Senator John Cornyn of Texas.
“Congratulations on destroying the US Senate Judiciary Committee.”
“You will face many consequences if you go down this path — I have warned many of you,” Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., added.