Chief Justice Roberts declines meeting with Democrats over ethics rules

Senate Democrats requested Roberts meet with them to discuss their concerns about controversial flags flown at Justice Samuel Alito's properties.

Chief Justice Roberts declines meeting with Democrats over ethics rules

Chief Justice John Roberts on Thursday declined an invitation to meet with Democratic senators to talk about Supreme Court ethics and the controversy over flags that flew outside homes owned by Justice Samuel Alito.

Roberts' response came in a letter to the senators a day after Alito separately wrote them and House members to reject their demands that he recuse himself from major Supreme Court cases involving former President Donald Trump and the Jan. 6 rioters because of the flags, which are like those carried by rioters at the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol.

Senate Judiciary Chairman Dick Durbin, D-Ill., and Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., a member of the Judiciary panel, had written Roberts a week ago to ask for the meeting and that Roberts take steps to ensure that Alito recuses himself from any cases before the court concerning the Jan. 6 attack or the Republican former president's attempts to overturn his 2020 election defeat.

“I must respectfully decline your request for a meeting,” Roberts wrote.

Justices decide for themselves when to step aside from cases, Roberts noted. Alito said he concluded nothing about the flags, both of which he said were flown by his wife outside their homes in Virginia and New Jersey, required his recusal.

Last year, Roberts declined to testify at a Judiciary Committee hearing on Supreme Court ethics, and he made mention of that Thursday in saying that chief justices only rarely have met with lawmakers.

“Moreover, the format proposed — a meeting with leaders only of one party who have expressed an interest in matters currently pending before the court — simply underscores that participating in such a meeting would be inadvisable,” he wrote.

Both Alito and an another conservative justice, Clarence Thomas, have rejected calls to recuse themselves from cases related to the 2020 election, which Trump lost to Democrat Joe Biden. Thomas' wife, Ginni, supported efforts to overturn the election results.

Public trust in the Supreme Court is at its lowest point in at least 50 years.

The justices are considering two major cases related to the Capitol attack, including charges faced by the rioters and whether Trump has immunity from prosecution on election interference charges.

The New York Times reported that an inverted American flag was seen at Alito’s home in Alexandria, Virginia, less than two weeks after the attack on the Capitol. The paper also reported that an “Appeal to Heaven” flag was flown outside of the justice’s beach home in New Jersey last summer. Both flags were carried by rioters who violently stormed the Capitol in January 2021 echoing Trump’s false claims of election fraud.

Alito has said the inverted American flag was flown by his wife amid a dispute with neighbors and he had no part in it. He said she also flew the “Appeal to Heaven” flag but was unaware of its ties to the Capitol rioters.

Judicial ethics codes focus on the need for judges to be independent, avoiding political statements or opinions on matters they could be called on to decide. The Supreme Court had long gone without its own code of ethics, but it adopted one in November 2023 in the face of sustained criticism over undisclosed trips and gifts from wealthy benefactors to some justices.

The code lacks a means of enforcement, though, and the Judiciary panel approved legislation last year that would set stricter standards. But Republicans have been staunchly opposed to any efforts to tell the court what to do.

OTHER NEWS

38 minutes ago

People really need to know what's out there' | Houston businessman loses thousands in elaborate scam targeting PPP loan recipients

38 minutes ago

‘Bicycle bandit’ bank robber Kym Parsons sentenced at SA Supreme Court before taking life under VAD

38 minutes ago

Immigration detainee faces drug offence that occurred 12 days before alleged attack on elderly Perth couple

38 minutes ago

Xpeng G6: Australian details confirmed for Model Y rival as pre-orders open

41 minutes ago

Person of interest in custody for killing of retired Chicago police officer

42 minutes ago

Uruguay clinch 3-1 Copa America win over Panama

42 minutes ago

Kaisa avoids liquidation for now but restructuring plan needed

42 minutes ago

Oshae Brissett opts out of 2024-2025 player option, becomes a free agent

42 minutes ago

Top five Bills who must step up in 2024 — Offense

42 minutes ago

Here’s the prize money payout for each golfer at the 2024 KPMG Women’s PGA Championship

42 minutes ago

Sir Ansbach questline steps in Elden Ring: Shadow of the Erdtree

42 minutes ago

Could Jones Become Browns' Starting RT? Expert Weighs In

42 minutes ago

Australia vs India LIVE: Cricket score and updates from 20/20 World Cup

42 minutes ago

Rishi: Let's end a decade of division and rout the SNP

42 minutes ago

D K Shivakumar’s gamble: Why Karnataka Deputy CM is talking about contesting Assembly bypoll on JD(S) turf

42 minutes ago

Two years after Dobbs decision, North Carolina abortion law among strictest

42 minutes ago

Spot the hidden messages in Queen Mary's outfit as she delivers emotional speech about 'home' and 'love'

46 minutes ago

House Of The Dragon: The Real Reason The Targaryens Married Each Other

50 minutes ago

See the embarrassing moment footy legend Laurie Daley makes three shocking stuff-ups as he tries to read a simple statement about women's State of Origin on live TV

52 minutes ago

PGA Tour incident left golfer 'scared for my life' at Travelers Championship

52 minutes ago

Blues 2024 NHL Draft Target: Michael Brandsegg-Nygard

52 minutes ago

Panicked renters paying €30,000 above asking prices in scramble for housing as landlords sell up

53 minutes ago

Hunt bites back at Latrell claim

53 minutes ago

ATO's tax warning for Aussies ahead of July 1

53 minutes ago

Noah Lyles races to 100-meter title at US Olympic track and field trials

55 minutes ago

3 Alabama men die after getting caught in rip current off Florida beach

58 minutes ago

Trump says he’s decided on his 2024 running mate

58 minutes ago

Crews fight large fire at commercial building in Paisley

58 minutes ago

Researchers anticipate impact on coastal range after species reintroduction: 'A previously missing piece of our natural history'

60 minutes ago

Unbeaten Roughriders pounce on winless Tiger-Cats 36-20

60 minutes ago

Legacy on the line as Latrell braces for Origin return

60 minutes ago

Conditions won't dampen NSW spirits in women's decider

1 hour ago

Robert Pattinson speaks about fatherhood months after welcoming baby

1 hour ago

'Economic insanity': fallout spreads from nuclear plan

1 hour ago

Report: Dan Gilbert Could Hire Kenny Atkinson As Cavaliers Coach Since Tom Izzo Is An Atkinson fan

1 hour ago

Will Patriots Veteran Cornerback Earn Roster Spot in 2024?

1 hour ago

Ryan Blaney slams Michael McDowell for late spin at New Hampshire

1 hour ago

The Bell strikes two: Race Rewind from New Hampshire

1 hour ago

Prince Harry's soldier pal says hardest challenge was leaving wife to go on Netflix show

1 hour ago

Steelers Starting Justin Fields Should Be A Worst-Case Scenario: 'If He Plays, Something Has Gone Wrong'