1/ Chief Justice John Roberts declined to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee about the Supreme Court’s ethics practices, calling such testimony “exceedingly rare” for what he called “mundane matters.” Instead, Roberts released a statement that was meant to provide “new clarity” to the public about the court’s ethics principles and practices. The statement said all nines justices “reaffirm and restate foundational ethics principles and practices to which they subscribe in carrying out their responsibilities” as Supreme Court justices. The committee had planned to hold a hearing to examine “common sense proposals” to hold Supreme Court justices to the same ethical standards as the rest of the federal judiciary after it was reported that Justice Clarence Thomas hadn’t disclosed several luxury trips he received from a Republican megadonor. (NPR / CNN / Politico / NBC News)
2/ Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch neglected to disclose details of a nearly $2 million sale of property to the CEO of a prominent law firm executive in 2017. While Gorsuch did note on his federal disclosure forms that he made between $250,001 and $500,000 on the sale – which occurred nine days after he was confirmed for a lifetime appointment on the Supreme Court by the Senate – he left the identity of the purchaser blank. The purchaser was Brian Duffy, chief executive officer of Greenberg Traurig – one of the nation’s biggest law firms that has appeared in at least 22 cases before the Supreme Court since Gorsuch joined in April 2017. Gorsuch sided with Greenberg Traurig clients eight times of the 12 times that Gorsuch recorded an opinion. (CNN / Politico)
3/ A bipartisan group of senators introduced legislation that requires the Supreme Court to implement a code of conduct – the only branch of government to operate without a code of conduct. The bill would require the court to establish its own code of conduct within one year and to make it available publicly, as well as appoint someone to handle any complaints of potential violations. “It’s pitiful that we’re having to introduce this bill—it’s pathetic that the Supreme Court hasn’t done this itself,” Sen. Angus King said, one of the bill’s sponsors. “The Supreme Court Code of Conduct Act is a commonsense step to restore and maintain faith in the high court by requiring the creation of consistent, transparent rules like the ones that apply to every other federal judge across our democracy. The other two branches of government already have codes of conduct, it is only reasonable the full Judiciary should as well.” (The Hill / Wall Street Journal / ABC News / CNN / USA Today)
4/ The House passed a Republican bill to cut federal spending and roll back Biden’s top legislative accomplishments in exchange for a one-year increase to the U.S. debt ceiling. The plan, approved 217-to-215 along party lines, cuts federal spending by nearly 14% over a decade, repeals Biden’s climate change tax credits, his student loan cancellation plan, imposes strict new work requirements for welfare recipients, and expands mining and fossil fuel production. The Republicans’ Limit, Save, Grow Act of 2023, however, has no chance of passing the Democratic-controlled Senate. The White House, meanwhile, promised not to budge on negotiations over the debt limit, saying Congress should raise the ceiling without conditions. “I’m happy to meet with McCarthy, but not on whether or not the debt limit gets extended,” Biden said. “That’s not negotiable.” (Washington Post / New York Times / Wall Street Journal / Bloomberg / Politico)
5/ E. Jean Carroll, in her civil lawsuit accusing Trump of battery and defamation, testified that “I’m here because Donald Trump raped me.” In 2019, Carroll alleged that Trump sexually assaulted her in the dressing room at a luxury department store in the mid-1990s. Trump denied the allegation and called Carroll a liar, saying the incident “never happened” and called her case a “hoax,” “scam,” “lie,” and “complete con job.” Carroll subsequently sued Trump for battery over the alleged rape, as well as defamation for his claims that she made up her story. For about three and a half hours today, Carroll detailed the alleged incident on the witness stand. “He lied and shattered my reputation, and I’m here to try and get my life back.” Trump, meanwhile, posted on his personal social media network that the lawsuit was “a made up SCAM” and accused Carroll’s attorney of being a “political operative.” The judge overseeing the trial called the posts “entirely inappropriate” and warned that Trump could be “tampering with a new source of potential liability.” (NBC News / Politico / New York Times / Washington Post / NPR / Bloomberg / Politico)
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