WASHINGTON – Congressional Democrats are slamming Justice Samuel Alito for his comments arguing Congress has no constitutional authority to regulate the Supreme Court.
“I know this is a controversial view, but I’m willing to say it,” Alito said in an interview published in the Wall Street Journal’s opinion section. “No provision in the Constitution gives them the authority to regulate the Supreme Court—period.”
Alito’s comments come during a time when the high court is under intense scrutiny from Democratic lawmakers over ethics concerns after revelations about justices – mainly Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas – accepting gifts without disclosing them.
Among the discoveries were multiple luxury gifts Thomas accepted from billionaire and Republican megadonor Harlan Crow and a private jet trip Alito accepted from Paul Singer, a hedge fund billionaire. Both revelations were reported by ProPublica.
It is “disturbing that Alito feels the need to insert himself into a congressional debate,” Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., said Sunday on CNN’s “State of the Union.” “And it is just more evidence that these justices on the Supreme Court, these conservative justices just see themselves as politicians.”
“No Congressional authority over the Supreme Court—is among the most audacious, absurd, and arrogant of recent Alito misstatements. His head-smacking claim is stunning in saying the Court is answerable to no one,” Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said in a post on X, the social media platform formerly known as Twitter.
Related: Would a code of ethics fix the Supreme Court? Some raise concerns about enforceability
The Senate Judiciary Committee approved legislation earlier this month that would impose a code of ethics on the Supreme Court, which currently has no formal ethics standards. The bill has a next-to-zero chance of passing in the Senate.
“Because ‘we’ve got this’? Not.”, Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., another member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said on X in response to Alito’s comments.
House Democrats also took to social media to criticize Alito.
“Dear Justice Alito: You’re on the Supreme Court in part because Congress expanded the Court to 9 Justices. Congress can impeach Justices and can in many cases strip the Court of jurisdiction. Congress has always regulated you and will continue to do so. You are not above the law,” Rep. Ted Lieu, D-Calif., a member of the House Judiciary Committee, said on X.
“This view is more than controversial; it’s incorrect. This is coming from a justice who tried to hide the fact that he accepted luxury vacations on private jets,” Rep. Katie Porter, D-Calif., said on X. “As a government official, I welcome the American people holding me accountable—why doesn’t Justice Alito?”
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., shared on X, “Alito’s next opinion piece in the WSJ is about to be ‘I am a little king, actually. The Constitution doesn’t explicitly say I’m not.'”
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Democrats slam Alito for saying Congress can’t regulate Supreme Court