In a decisive move, the Senate Judiciary Committee’s Democrats have taken a significant step towards addressing what many are calling a “full-blown corruption crisis” at the Supreme Court. The committee voted to issue subpoenas to Harlan Crow and Leonard Leo, two figures deeply entrenched in the far right’s manipulation of the Supreme Court.
This crucial decision, supported by all 11 Democratic members of the committee, legally compels Crow and Leo to testify. These men have long been under the microscope for their influential roles: Crow for allegedly providing Justice Clarence Thomas with millions in undisclosed gifts, and Leo, the Federalist Society Co-Chair, for his pivotal involvement in appointing every conservative justice currently sitting on the Supreme Court bench.
The Republican members of the committee, who have reportedly received substantial donations from Crow, expressed their disdain for this move. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) went as far as to label it a “jihad” against the court. In a dramatic show of protest, they walked out during the vote and even tried to stall the process by filing 177 amendments to the subpoena legislation.
Committee Chair Dick Durbin (D-Illinois) stood firm against these tactics, emphasizing the necessity of these subpoenas. “I’m only seeking subpoenas for two people who have refused to comply with this committee’s oversight request for months,” Durbin stated, highlighting the importance of holding Crow and Leo accountable for their actions and influence.
Leonard Leo has already declared his intention to defy the subpoena, framing the committee’s actions as a campaign of “political retribution.” However, his refusal to cooperate only adds to the concerns about the extent of his influence on the Supreme Court’s current conservative ideology.
Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-Rhode Island), a vocal advocate against Supreme Court corruption, criticized the Republicans’ obstructionist tactics. He pointed out their desperate measures to prevent the public from uncovering the ties between right-wing billionaires and justices who have been the recipients of gifts. “It has to be really bad to trigger that barrage of procedural weapons,” Whitehouse remarked on social media.
Watchdog groups have lauded the subpoenas as a vital step towards transparency and accountability. Caroline Ciccone, president of Accountable.US, highlighted the urgent need for reform and commended the Judiciary Committee for sending a strong message against corruption at the highest level of the judiciary.
This action by the Senate Democrats represents not just a fight against two individuals but a broader battle for the integrity of the U.S. judicial system. As the saga unfolds, all eyes are on the impact these subpoenas will have in unraveling the depth of influence and corruption within the Supreme Court.