Home News “Everything is on the table,” said the Senate Judiciary Chair in response to the Clarence Thomas revelations

“Everything is on the table,” said the Senate Judiciary Chair in response to the Clarence Thomas revelations

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Washington (CNN) Senate Judiciary Leader Dick Durbin said Sunday that “everything is on the table” as the committee considers new ethical concerns about Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas.

“The main thing is: everything is on the table. Day by day, week by week, more and more revelations about Judge Thomas — we can’t ignore that,” the Illinois Democrat told CNN’s Jake Tapper on “State of the Union.” »«

He added, “It is clear that the first thing we will do is gather the evidence and information that we need to reach our conclusions. I am not ruling anything out.”

ProPublica recently reported that Thomas has been doing this for years by accepting lavish expeditions and gifts from Republican giant Harlan Crowe, who often goes unreported in Justice League’s financial disclosures. Crowe also purchased several properties, including the house where Thomas’ mother lived from Thomas W.’s family paying boarding school for Thomas’ grandson, according to ProPublica.

The extent to which Thomas should have reported these transactions and hospitality has been a topic of debate among forensic ethics experts, who note that a recently closed loophole for “personal hospitality” may have covered some luxury travel.

Thomas said he took the advice of others in deciding what to disclose, and in a statement last month indicated that Crowe had nothing to do in court.

But Durbin said on Sunday the latest revelations “just embarrass me” as Chief Justice John Roberts called for a code of conduct to be imposed on the court. Roberts previously denied Durbin’s request to testify voluntarily at a Supreme Court ethics hearing.

“I must respectfully decline your invitation,” Roberts wrote in a letter to Durbin, which was released by a spokesperson for the Supreme Court. “Testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee by the Chief Justice of the United States is as rare as one would expect given concerns about the separation of powers and the importance of maintaining judicial independence.”

The controversy over Supreme Court ethics was the subject of a legal debate in the Senate hearing last week, and included testimony from a law professor, former lawyers and two justices. Some Republican lawmakers have said they want to see more transparency about the court, though they have criticized Democrats’ push for Congress to impose a code of conduct on judges.

“This is Roberts’ court, and history will judge him as to what decision he will make on this,” Durbin confirmed Sunday.

“He has the power to make a difference.”

Feinstein’s absence remains a ‘challenge’

Durbin said on Sunday that he had not reached a “conclusion” about the follow-up of the subpoenas

Ethics issues in the Supreme Court, but acknowledged that the absence of Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California would present a challenge to the committee “if we go that route.”

“At the moment, with his absence, the committee is 10 to 10, the majority is not there, and a proxy vote does not matter in these circumstances,” Durbin said.

Feinstein, 89, has been absent from the Senate since March as she recovers from shingles at her home in California. Her absence prevented the committee from introducing some of President Joe Biden’s judicial nominees, and several House Democrats called on her to resign as a result.

In a statement last week, Feinstein dismissed those claims, saying the Senate continues to “expeditiously” confirm “highly qualified individuals for federal seats.” In the statement, she said she still plans to return but did not say when that will happen.

“She’s been through horrible things. She lost her husband last year and has some real medical issues that defy her age at this point,” Durbin said. “I hope she comes back, hopefully this week. We need her. It’s a challenge for the Senate Judiciary Committee to do our job.”

He added that the situation is “complicated”.

“I hope she does what’s best for her, her family, and the state of California and makes a decision about her return soon,” Durbin said.

This story has been updated with additional information.

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