Two Democratic senators challenge Judge Samuel Alito: "He should come before Congress"

Richard Blumenthal (D-CN) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) reacted to the interview that a member of the Supreme Court gave to the Wall Street Journal.

Amid the controversy over Supreme Court ethics reform (SCOTUS), Samuel Alito spoke with The Wall Street Journal and asserted that Congress has no authority to regulate the highest court in the land. In response, two Democratic senators invited him to Capitol Hill to explain his position before the Senate Judiciary Committee lawmakers. They are Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) and Richard Blumenthal (D-CN).

Whitehouse is also the author of the Supreme Court Ethics, Recusal and Transparency Act (SCERT), which would make several changes related to ethics rules, financial disclosure requirements and recusal requirements that apply to the court’s justices.

When asked about it in the aforementioned interview, Alito assured that “Congress did not create the Supreme Court,” but the Constitution itself had done so. “I know this is a controversial view, but I’m willing to say it. No provision in the Constitution gives them the authority to regulate the Supreme Court—period,” he added.

The comment did not go down well with House Democrats, especially Blumenthal and the author of the SCERT. “If Justice Alito is willing to expound to the Wall Street Journal that Congress has no authority over the Court, he should come before Congress to tell us directly why—in testimony before the Judiciary Committee,” Blumenthal wrote on the social networking site X, formerly known as Twitter. “And while he’s there, we can talk about ethical lapses & a Supreme Court code of conduct,” he added.

Later, Whitehouse quoted his colleague’s comments and added, “Alito can also explain how it’s ethical to offer opinions on matters likely to come before the Court — that’s not what they tell us in confirmation hearings.”

“And why wouldn’t they offer opinions on matters that might come before the court? Right, because it would be unethical. To further the point, Alito has just done something that his colleagues have called unethical to protect his ability to do things that are unethical. Rich,” he concluded.

Supreme Court reform being pushed by the Democratic Party

Specifically, the legislation would adopt a code of conduct for Supreme Court justices through new procedures for receiving and investigating allegations of judicial misconduct. In addition, it would adopt rules regulating gifts, travel and income received by both judges and court clerks, at least at the same level as those governing the Senate and the House of Representatives.

Perhaps one of the most sensitive and divisive issues is the expansion of the circumstances under which a judge may be recused from office.

To deter its effects, Republicans on the Judiciary Committee introduced 61 amendments, but only twelve were eventually voted on.