Murphy: Conservative Supreme Court justices ‘see themselves as politicians’

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Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) said Sunday that the conservative justices of the Supreme Court “see themselves as politicians” amid recent controversy surrounding members of the nation’s highest court. 

During an appearance on CNN’s “State of the Union,” guest anchor Kasie Hunt asked Murphy for his response to Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito’s criticism of the latest push by the Senate to establish a code of conduct within the court. 

“First of all, it’s just stunningly wrong. And he should know that more than anyone else, because his seat on the Supreme Court exists only because of an act passed by Congress,” Murphy told Hunt on Sunday. “It is Congress that establishes the number of justices on the Supreme Court. It is Congress that has passed in the past requirements for justices to disclose certain information.”

Murphy also said it is just wrong to say that Congress doesn’t have the authority to set rules for the court, noting that it’s “disturbing” to see Alito insert himself into this conversation. 

“And it is just more evidence that these justices on the Supreme Court, these conservative justices, just see themselves as politicians,” Murphy added. “They just see themselves as a second legislative body that has just as much power and right to impose their political will on the country as Congress does.”

“They are going to bend the law in order to impose their right-wing view of how the country should work on the rest of us,” Murphy concluded. “And it’s why we need to pass this commonsense ethics legislation to at least make sure we know that these guys aren’t in bed having their lifestyles paid for by conservative donors, as we have unfortunately seen in these latest revelations.” 

Alito, who has been an associate justice on the court since 2006, told The Wall Street Journal that Congress has “no authority” to regulate the Supreme Court as the Senate Judiciary Committee last week voted along party lines to advance a Supreme Court ethics reform bill.  

The ethics reform bill comes after the court received public scrutiny due to reports published about Alito and fellow Justice Clarence Thomas accepting gifts and trips from GOP donors. 

“I know this is a controversial view, but I’m willing to say it,” Alito told the Journal in an interview. “No provision in the Constitution gives them the authority to regulate the Supreme Court — period.”

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