Justices Breyer, Scalia discuss ethics at the Supreme Court

U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Il., used a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on Oct. 5 to quiz Supreme Court Justices Stephen Breyer and Antonin Scalia on ethics issues at the high court. Common Cause activists emailed Durbin about asking the justices ethics questions.

The unusual hearing — the justices rarely take part in discussions with lawmakers — focused primarily on the role of judges under the Constitution.

Common Cause has been examining ethics enforcement at the court since early this year. We’ve learned that two justices may have attended political strategy and fundraising sessions hosted by Koch Industries, one of the nation’s largest corporations and that one justice has failed repeatedly to file properly the annual financial disclosure forms required by the Ethics in Government Act. Our work helped spark the introduction of legislation to bring the Supreme Court under the Code of Conduct for U.S. Judges, a set of ethical guidelines already applied to other federal judges. Sen. Durbin’s questioning begins at about 1:30 into the hearing.

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30 Responses to “Justices Breyer, Scalia discuss ethics at the Supreme Court”

  1. Why isn’t Clarence Thomas there getting his corrupt arse grilled? This was nothing but a bunch of hooey and there actually just filabustering

  2. Why isn’t Clarence Thomas there getting his corrupt arse grilled? This was nothing but a bunch of hooey and there actually just filabustering

  3. Why isn’t Clarence Thomas there getting his corrupt arse grilled? This was nothing but a bunch of hooey and there actually just filabustering

  4. Scalia is such a lying sack. Of course he wants to be able to just do whatever the hell he wants.

  5. Scalia is such a lying sack. Of course he wants to be able to just do whatever the hell he wants.

  6. Scalia is such a lying sack. Of course he wants to be able to just do whatever the hell he wants.

  7. I cannot believe we have not already begun taking steps to remove and prosecute Supreme Court Justices who have taken terrible advantage of the extreme power they have been given to help the people of this country — not harm it by siding with any particular party of group.

    There MUST be a legal action required for them just as it is for others in our Government service.

  8. I cannot believe we have not already begun taking steps to remove and prosecute Supreme Court Justices who have taken terrible advantage of the extreme power they have been given to help the people of this country — not harm it by siding with any particular party of group.

    There MUST be a legal action required for them just as it is for others in our Government service.

  9. I cannot believe we have not already begun taking steps to remove and prosecute Supreme Court Justices who have taken terrible advantage of the extreme power they have been given to help the people of this country — not harm it by siding with any particular party of group.

    There MUST be a legal action required for them just as it is for others in our Government service.

  10. This may actually be one of the most important issues we face as a nation because the Supremes ultimately shape our nation. We cannot stand for partisanship, duplicity and a lack of integrity.

  11. This may actually be one of the most important issues we face as a nation because the Supremes ultimately shape our nation. We cannot stand for partisanship, duplicity and a lack of integrity.

  12. This may actually be one of the most important issues we face as a nation because the Supremes ultimately shape our nation. We cannot stand for partisanship, duplicity and a lack of integrity.

  13. It would seem as though we are no longer a “nation of laws,” as we once were. We are “governed” (ruled?) by a group of wealthy indivuals that make up the rules in the interests of those who pay them the most. AND oversee their own adherence to ethics rules and laws. Administrations can break laws, violate the Constitution in whatever way they deem necessary without any recoourse whatsoever. Wall St bankers can bring down the entire economy without so much as one of them being investigated, let alone indicted or prosecuted. Corporations can effectively payoff politicians in order to get their own laws passed, and public officials routinely LIE to us, not only about what they’ll do once in office, but even what legislation actually does. And, yes, even Supreme Court justices can now work with lobbyists and corporate nterest behind closed doors with nary a word from the media. What does that say about where we are and how we’ll reconcile this? Good luck.

  14. It would seem as though we are no longer a “nation of laws,” as we once were. We are “governed” (ruled?) by a group of wealthy indivuals that make up the rules in the interests of those who pay them the most. AND oversee their own adherence to ethics rules and laws. Administrations can break laws, violate the Constitution in whatever way they deem necessary without any recoourse whatsoever. Wall St bankers can bring down the entire economy without so much as one of them being investigated, let alone indicted or prosecuted. Corporations can effectively payoff politicians in order to get their own laws passed, and public officials routinely LIE to us, not only about what they’ll do once in office, but even what legislation actually does. And, yes, even Supreme Court justices can now work with lobbyists and corporate nterest behind closed doors with nary a word from the media. What does that say about where we are and how we’ll reconcile this? Good luck.

  15. It would seem as though we are no longer a “nation of laws,” as we once were. We are “governed” (ruled?) by a group of wealthy indivuals that make up the rules in the interests of those who pay them the most. AND oversee their own adherence to ethics rules and laws. Administrations can break laws, violate the Constitution in whatever way they deem necessary without any recoourse whatsoever. Wall St bankers can bring down the entire economy without so much as one of them being investigated, let alone indicted or prosecuted. Corporations can effectively payoff politicians in order to get their own laws passed, and public officials routinely LIE to us, not only about what they’ll do once in office, but even what legislation actually does. And, yes, even Supreme Court justices can now work with lobbyists and corporate nterest behind closed doors with nary a word from the media. What does that say about where we are and how we’ll reconcile this? Good luck.

  16. Edward Blumstein October 15, 2011 at 2:49 pm

    What procedures must be taken to impeach these supreme a-holes, namely the corrupted thomas and scalia, from their game-playing, unethical and illegal manipulations of the U.S. Constitution.They simply represent another branch of the craziest of the crazy republican extremists

  17. Edward Blumstein October 15, 2011 at 2:49 pm

    What procedures must be taken to impeach these supreme a-holes, namely the corrupted thomas and scalia, from their game-playing, unethical and illegal manipulations of the U.S. Constitution.They simply represent another branch of the craziest of the crazy republican extremists

  18. Edward Blumstein October 15, 2011 at 2:49 pm

    What procedures must be taken to impeach these supreme a-holes, namely the corrupted thomas and scalia, from their game-playing, unethical and illegal manipulations of the U.S. Constitution.They simply represent another branch of the craziest of the crazy republican extremists

  19. Edward Blumstein October 15, 2011 at 2:49 pm

    What procedures must be taken to impeach these supreme a-holes, namely the corrupted thomas and scalia, from their game-playing, unethical and illegal manipulations of the U.S. Constitution.They simply represent another branch of the craziest of the crazy republican extremists.

  20. Edward Blumstein October 15, 2011 at 2:49 pm

    What procedures must be taken to impeach these supreme a-holes, namely the corrupted thomas and scalia, from their game-playing, unethical and illegal manipulations of the U.S. Constitution.They simply represent another branch of the craziest of the crazy republican extremists.

  21. Edward Blumstein October 15, 2011 at 2:49 pm

    What procedures must be taken to impeach these supreme a-holes, namely the corrupted thomas and scalia, from their game-playing, unethical and illegal manipulations of the U.S. Constitution.They simply represent another branch of the craziest of the crazy republican extremists.

  22. Thomas and Scalia need to be taken off the Supreme Court but how is that procedure started–THEY ARE NOT ABOVE THE LAW! ! !

  23. Thomas and Scalia need to be taken off the Supreme Court but how is that procedure started–THEY ARE NOT ABOVE THE LAW! ! !

  24. Thomas and Scalia need to be taken off the Supreme Court but how is that procedure started–THEY ARE NOT ABOVE THE LAW! ! !

  25. Most citizens who had broken laws related to the IRS would be in jail or at least been taken to court, but not Justice Thomas. One more example of the double standard for those with wealth and influence. It is more egregious since Thomas is an appointed member of the highest court in the land. Meanwhile republicans in the senate continue to filabuster and block Obamas’ appointements to other major courts.

  26. Most citizens who had broken laws related to the IRS would be in jail or at least been taken to court, but not Justice Thomas. One more example of the double standard for those with wealth and influence. It is more egregious since Thomas is an appointed member of the highest court in the land. Meanwhile republicans in the senate continue to filabuster and block Obamas’ appointements to other major courts.

  27. Most citizens who had broken laws related to the IRS would be in jail or at least been taken to court, but not Justice Thomas. One more example of the double standard for those with wealth and influence. It is more egregious since Thomas is an appointed member of the highest court in the land. Meanwhile republicans in the senate continue to filabuster and block Obamas’ appointements to other major courts.