Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-New York) has called out Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts for refusing to testify at an upcoming Senate hearing addressing Supreme Court ethics and corruption. Roberts recently declined the invitation from Senate Judiciary Committee Chair Dick Durbin (D-Illinois), arguing that it’s “exceedingly rare” for a chief justice to appear before Congress. However, some lawmakers argue that the extreme circumstances surrounding the hearing justify an equally extreme response.
Ocasio-Cortez held Roberts responsible for the current corruption within the Supreme Court and criticized his decision not to appear in the Senate. She took to Twitter, questioning how the Supreme Court can maintain authority if they reject accountability themselves. AOC has previously stated that if Roberts doesn’t act to address the corruption of Supreme Court justices, his legacy will be forever tarnished.
The corruption within the Supreme Court has been exposed through recent reports revealing the unethical financial arrangements of right-wing Justice Clarence Thomas, who has accepted lavish gifts from a GOP billionaire and sold the property without disclosing it. Additionally, Neil Gorsuch has been found to hide his property sale to the CEO of a major law firm that frequently appears before the Court, skirting disclosure requirements.
The Senate Judiciary Committee members have expressed deep frustration over Roberts’s refusal to testify and are advocating for the Supreme Court to be bound to an ethics code. Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-Rhode Island) criticized Roberts’s unwillingness to enforce ethics guidelines, noting that justices have taken advantage of the absence of clear rules. Durbin also chastised Roberts for ignoring the fact that Thomas has repeatedly violated not just ethics standards but also disclosure laws.
As Ocasio-Cortez and members of the Senate Judiciary Committee continue to push for an enforceable code of ethics for the Supreme Court, the spotlight remains on the glaring ethics concerns and the need for increased transparency within the highest court in the nation.