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The first amendment, historic document, federalist 78 (1788).
Alexander Hamilton | 1788
On May 28, 1788, Alexander Hamilton published Federalist 78—titled “The Judicial Department.” In this famous Federalist Paper essay, Hamilton offered, perhaps, the most powerful defense of judicial review in the American constitutional canon. On the one hand, Hamilton defined the judicial branch as the “least dangerous” branch of the new national government. On the other hand, he also emphasized the importance of an independent judiciary and the power of judicial review. With judicial independence, the Constitution put barriers in place—like life tenure and salary protections—to ensure that the federal courts were independent from the control of the elected branches. And with judicial review, federal judges had the power to review the constitutionality of the laws and actions of the government—ensuring that they met the requirements of the new Constitution. Other than Marbury v. Madison (1803), Hamilton’s essay remains the most famous defense of judicial review in American history, and it even served as the basis for many of Chief Justice John Marshall’s arguments in Marbury itself.
The National Constitution Center
According to the plan of the convention, all judges who may be appointed by the United States are to hold their offices DURING GOOD BEHAVIOR; which is conformable to the most approved of the State constitutions and among the rest, to that of this State. . . . The standard of good behavior for the continuance in office of the judicial magistracy, is certainly one of the most valuable of the modern improvements in the practice of government. In a monarchy it is an excellent barrier to the despotism of the prince; in a republic it is a no less excellent barrier to the encroachments and oppressions of the representative body. And it is the best expedient which can be devised in any government, to secure a steady, upright, and impartial administration of the laws.
Whoever attentively considers the different departments of power must perceive, that, in a government in which they are separated from each other, the judiciary, from the nature of its functions, will always be the least dangerous to the political rights of the Constitution; because it will be least in a capacity to annoy or injure them. The Executive not only dispenses the honors, but holds the sword of the community. The legislature not only commands the purse, but prescribes the rules by which the duties and rights of every citizen are to be regulated. The judiciary, on the contrary, has no influence over either the sword or the purse; no direction either of the strength or of the wealth of the society; and can take no active resolution whatever. It may truly be said to have neither FORCE nor WILL, but merely judgment; and must ultimately depend upon the aid of the executive arm even for the efficacy of its judgments. . . .
There is no position which depends on clearer principles, than that every act of a delegated authority, contrary to the tenor of the commission under which it is exercised, is void. No legislative act, therefore, contrary to the Constitution, can be valid. To deny this, would be to affirm, that the deputy is greater than his principal; that the servant is above his master; that the representatives of the people are superior to the people themselves; that men acting by virtue of powers, may do not only what their powers do not authorize, but what they forbid.
If it be said that the legislative body are themselves the constitutional judges of their own powers, and that the construction they put upon them is conclusive upon the other departments, it may be answered, that this cannot be the natural presumption, where it is not to be collected from any particular provisions in the Constitution. It is not otherwise to be supposed, that the Constitution could intend to enable the representatives of the people to substitute their WILL to that of their constituents. It is far more rational to suppose, that the courts were designed to be an intermediate body between the people and the legislature, in order, among other things, to keep the latter within the limits assigned to their authority. The interpretation of the laws is the proper and peculiar province of the courts. A constitution is, in fact, and must be regarded by the judges, as a fundamental law. It therefore belongs to them to ascertain its meaning, as well as the meaning of any particular act proceeding from the legislative body. If there should happen to be an irreconcilable variance between the two, that which has the superior obligation and validity ought, of course, to be preferred; or, in other words, the Constitution ought to be preferred to the statute, the intention of the people to the intention of their agents.
Nor does this conclusion by any means suppose a superiority of the judicial to the legislative power. It only supposes that the power of the people is superior to both; and that where the will of the legislature, declared in its statutes, stands in opposition to that of the people, declared in the Constitution, the judges ought to be governed by the latter rather than the former. They ought to regulate their decisions by the fundamental laws, rather than by those which are not fundamental. . . .
If, then, the courts of justice are to be considered as the bulwarks of a limited Constitution against legislative encroachments, this consideration will afford a strong argument for the permanent tenure of judicial offices, since nothing will contribute so much as this to that independent spirit in the judges which must be essential to the faithful performance of so arduous a duty.
This independence of the judges is equally requisite to guard the Constitution and the rights of individuals from the effects of those ill humors, which the arts of designing men, or the influence of particular conjunctures, sometimes disseminate among the people themselves, and which, though they speedily give place to better information, and more deliberate reflection, have a tendency, in the meantime, to occasion dangerous innovations in the government, and serious oppressions of the minor party in the community. . . . Until the people have, by some solemn and authoritative act, annulled or changed the established form [of government], it is binding upon themselves collectively, as well as individually; and no presumption, or even knowledge, of their sentiments, can warrant their representatives in a departure from it, prior to such an act. But it is easy to see, that it would require an uncommon portion of fortitude in the judges to do their duty as faithful guardians of the Constitution, where legislative invasions of it had been instigated by the major voice of the community.
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The federalist no. 81, [28 may 1788], the federalist no. 81 1.
[New York, May 28, 1788]
To the People of the State of New-York.
LET us now return to the partition of the judiciary authority between different courts, and their relations to each other.
“The judicial power of the United States is (by the plan of the convention) 2 to be vested in one supreme court, and in such inferior courts as the congress may from time to time ordain and establish.” *
That there ought to be one court of supreme and final jurisdiction is a proposition which has not been, and 3 is not likely to be contested. The reasons for it have been assigned in another place, 4 and are too obvious to need repetition. The only question that seems to have been raised concerning it, is whether it ought to be a distinct body, or a branch of the legislature. The same contradiction is observable in regard to this matter, which has been remarked in several other cases. The very men who object to the senate as a court of impeachments, on the ground of an improper intermixture of powers, advocate, 5 by implication at least, 6 the propriety of vesting the ultimate decision of all causes in the whole, or in a part of the legislative body.
The arguments or rather suggestions, upon which this charge is founded, are to this effect: “The authority of the proposed 7 supreme court of the United States, which is to be a separate and independent body, will be superior to that of the legislature. The power of construing the laws, according to the spirit of the constitution, will enable that court to mould them into whatever shape it may think proper; especially as its decisions will not be in any manner subject to the revision or correction of the legislative body. This is as unprecedented as it is dangerous. In Britain, the judicial power in the last resort, resides in the house of lords, which is a branch of the legislature; and this part of the British government has been imitated in the state constitutions in general. The parliament of Great-Britain, and the legislatures of the several states, can at any time rectify by law, the exceptionable decisions of their respective courts. But the errors and usurpations of the supreme court of the United States will be uncontrolable and remediless.” This, upon examination, will be found to be altogether made of false reasoning upon misconceived fact.
In the first place, there is not a syllable in the plan under consideration, 8 which directly empowers the national courts to construe the laws according to the spirit of the constitution, or which gives them any greater latitude in this respect, than may be claimed by the courts of every state. I admit however, that the constitution ought to be the standard of construction for the laws, and that wherever there is an evident opposition, the laws ought to give place to the constitution. But this doctrine is not deducible from any circumstance peculiar to the plan of the convention; but from the general theory of a limited constitution; and as far as it is true, is equally applicable to most, if not to all the state governments. There can be no objection therefore, on this account, to the federal judicature, which will not lie against the local judicatures in general, and which will not serve to condemn every constitution that attempts to set bounds to the 9 legislative discretion.
But perhaps the force of the objection may be thought to consist in the particular organization of the proposed 10 supreme court; in its being composed of a distinct body of magistrates, instead of being one of the branches of the legislature, as in the government of Great-Britain and in that of this state. To insist upon this point, the authors of the objection must renounce the meaning they have laboured to annex to the celebrated maxim requiring a separation of the departments of power. It shall nevertheless be conceded to them, agreeably to the interpretation given to that maxim in the course of these papers, that it is not violated by vesting the ultimate power of judging in a part of the legislative body. But though this be not an absolute violation of that excellent rule; yet it verges so nearly upon it, as on this account alone to be less eligible than the mode preferred by the convention. From a body which had had even a partial agency in passing bad laws, we could rarely expect a disposition to temper and moderate them in the application. The same spirit, which had operated in making them would be too apt to operate in interpreting them: 11 Still less could it be expected, that men who had infringed the constitution, in the character of legislators, would be disposed to repair the breach, in the character 12 of judges. Nor is this all: Every reason, which recommends the tenure of good behaviour for judicial offices, militates against placing the judiciary power in the last resort in a body composed of men chosen for a limited period. There is an absurdity in referring the determination of causes in the first instance to judges of permanent standing, and in the last to those of a temporary and mutable constitution. And there is a still greater absurdity in subjecting the decisions of men selected for their knowledge of the laws, acquired by long and laborious study, to the revision and control of men, who for want of the same advantage cannot but be deficient in that knowledge. The members of the legislature will rarely be chosen with a view to those qualifications which fit men for the stations of judges; and as on this account there will be great reason to apprehend all the ill consequences of defective information; so on account of the natural propensity of such bodies to party divisions, there will be no less reason to fear, that the pestilential breath of faction may poison the fountains of justice. The habit of being continually marshalled on opposite sides, will be too apt to stifle the voice both of law and of equity.
These considerations teach us to applaud the wisdom of those states, who have committed the judicial power in the last resort, not to a part of the legislature, but to distinct and independent bodies of men. Contrary to the supposition of those, who have represented the plan of the convention in this respect as novel and unprecedented, it is but a copy of the constitutions of New-Hampshire, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North-Carolina, South-Carolina and Georgia; and the preference which has been given to these models is highly to be commended.
It is not true, in the second place, that the parliament of Great Britain, or the legislatures of the particular states, can rectify the exceptionable decisions of their respective courts, in any other sense than might be done by a future legislature of the United States. The theory neither of the British, nor the state constitutions, authorises the revisal of a judicial sentence, by a legislative act. Nor is there anything in the proposed constitution more than in either of them, by which it is forbidden. In the former as well 13 as in the latter, the impropriety of the thing, on the general principles of law and reason, is the sole obstacle. A legislature without exceeding its province cannot reverse a determination once made, in a particular case; though it may prescribe a new rule for future cases. This is the principle, and it applies in all its consequences, exactly in the same manner and extent, to the state governments, as to the national government, now under consideration. Not the least difference can be pointed out in any view of the subject.
It may in the last place be observed that the supposed danger of judiciary encroachments on the legislative authority, which has been upon many occasions reiterated, is in reality a phantom. Particular misconstructions and contraventions of the will of the legislature may now and then happen; but they can never be so extensive as to amount to an inconvenience, or in any sensible degree to affect the order of the political system. This may be inferred with certainty from the general nature of the judicial power; from the objects to which it relates; from the manner in which it is exercised; from its comparative weakness, and from its total incapacity to support its usurpations by force. And the inference is greatly fortified by the consideration of the important constitutional check, which the power of instituting impeachments, in one part of the legislative body, and of determining upon them in the other, would give to that body upon the members of the judicial department. This is alone a complete security. There never can be danger that the judges, by a series of deliberate usurpations on the authority of the legislature, would hazard the united resentment of the body entrusted with it, while this body was possessed of the means of punishing their presumption by degrading them from their stations. While this ought to remove all apprehensions on the subject, it affords at the same time a cogent argument for constituting the senate a court for the trial of impeachments.
Having now examined, and I trust removed the objections to the distinct and independent organization of the supreme court, I proceed to consider the propriety of the power of constituting inferior courts, * and the relations which will subsist between these and the former.
The power of constituting inferior courts is evidently calculated to obviate the necessity of having recourse to the supreme court, in every case of federal cognizance. It is intended to enable the national government to institute or authorise in each state or district of the United States, a tribunal competent to the determination of matters of national jurisdiction within its limits.
But why, it is asked, might not the same purpose have been accomplished by the instrumentality of the state courts? This admits of different answers. Though the fitness and competency of those 14 courts should be allowed in the utmost latitude; yet the substance of the power in question, may still be regarded as a necessary part of the plan, if it were only to empower 15 the national legislature to commit to them the cognizance of causes arising out of the national constitution. To confer the power of determining such causes upon the existing courts of the several states, 16 would perhaps be as much “to constitute tribunals,” as to create new courts with the like power. But ought not a more direct and explicit provision to have been made in favour of the state courts? There are, in my opinion, substantial reasons against such a provision: The most discerning cannot foresee how far the prevalency of a local spirit may be found to disqualify the local tribunals for the jurisdiction of national causes; whilst every man may discover that courts constituted like those of some of the states, would be improper channels of the judicial authority of the union. State judges, holding their offices during pleasure, or from year to year, will be too little independent to be relied upon for an inflexible execution of the national laws. And if there was a necessity for confiding 17 the original cognizance of causes arising under those laws to them, 18 there would be a correspondent necessity for leaving the door of appeal as wide as possible. In proportion to the grounds of confidence in, or diffidence 19 of the subordinate tribunals, ought to be the facility or difficulty of appeals. And well satisfied as I am of the propriety of the appellate jurisdiction in the several classes of causes to which it is extended by the plan of the convention, I should consider every thing calculated to give in practice, an unrestrained course to appeals as a source of public and private inconvenience.
I am not sure but that it will be found highly expedient and useful to divide the United States into four or five, or half a dozen districts; and to institute a federal court in each district, in lieu of one in every state. The judges of these courts, with the aid of the state judges, 20 may hold circuits for the trial of causes in the several parts of the respective districts. Justice through them may be administered with ease and dispatch; and appeals may be safely circumscribed within a very narrow compass. This plan appears to me at present the most eligible of any that could be adopted, and in order to it, it is necessary that the power of constituting inferior courts should exist in the full extent in which it is to be found 21 in the proposed constitution.
These reasons seem sufficient to satisfy a candid mind, that the want of such a power would have been a great defect in the plan. Let us now examine in what manner the judicial authority is to be distributed between the supreme and the inferior courts of the union.
The supreme court is to be invested with original jurisdiction, only “in cases affecting ambassadors, other public ministers and consuls, and those in which A STATE shall be a party.” Public ministers of every class, are the immediate representatives of their sovereigns. All questions in which they are concerned, are so directly connected with the public peace, that as well for the preservation of this, as out of respect to the sovereignties they represent, it is both expedient and proper, that such questions should be submitted in the first instance to the highest judicatory of the nation. Though consuls have not in strictness a diplomatic character, yet as they are the public agents of the nations to which they belong, the same observation is in a great measure applicable to them. In cases in which a state might happen to be a party, it would ill suit its dignity to be turned over to an inferior tribunal. Though it may rather be a digression from the immediate subject of this paper, I shall take occasion to mention here, a supposition which has excited some alarm upon very mistaken grounds: It has been suggested that an assignment of the public securities of one state to the citizens of another, would enable them to prosecute that state in the federal courts for the amount of those securities. A suggestion which the following considerations prove to be without foundation.
It is inherent in the nature of sovereignty, not to be amenable to the suit of an individual without its consent . This is the general sense and the general practice of mankind; and the exemption, as one of the attributes of sovereignty, is now enjoyed by the government of every state in the union. Unless therefore, there is a surrender of this immunity in the plan of the convention, it will remain with the states, and the danger intimated must be merely ideal. The circumstances which are necessary to produce an alienation of state sovereignty, were discussed in considering the article of taxation, and need not be repeated here. 22 A recurrence to the principles there established will satisfy us, that there is no colour to pretend that the state governments, would by the adoption of that plan, be divested of the privilege of paying their own debts in their own way, free from every constraint but that which flows from the obligations of good faith. The contracts between a nation and individuals are only binding on the conscience of the sovereign, and have no pretensions to a compulsive force. They confer no right of action independent of the sovereign will. To what purpose would it be to authorise suits against states, for the debts they owe? How could recoveries be enforced? It is evident that it could not be done without waging war against the contracting state; and to ascribe to the federal courts, by mere implication, and in destruction of a preexisting right of the state governments, a power which would involve such a consequence, would be altogether forced and unwarrantable.
Let us resume the train of our observations; we have seen that the original jurisdiction of the supreme court would be confined to two classes of causes, and those of a nature rarely to occur. In all other causes 23 of federal cognizance, the original jurisdiction would appertain to the inferior tribunals, and the supreme court would have nothing more than an appellate jurisdiction, “with such exceptions , and under such regulations as the congress shall make.”
The propriety of this appellate jurisdiction has been scarcely called in question in regard to matters of law; but the clamours have been loud against it as applied to matters of fact. Some well intentioned men in this state, deriving their notions from the language and forms which obtain in our courts, have been induced to consider it as an implied supersedure of the trial by jury, in favour of the civil law mode of trial, which prevails in our courts of admiralty, probates and chancery. A technical sense has been affixed to the term “appellate”, which in our law parlance is commonly used in reference to appeals in the course of the civil law. But if I am not misinformed, the same meaning would not be given to it in any part of New-England. There an appeal from one jury to another is familiar both in language and practice, and is even a matter of course, until there have been two verdicts on one side. The word “appellate” therefore will not be understood in the same sense in New-England as in New-York, which shews the impropriety of a technical interpretation derived from the jurisprudence of any 24 particular state. The expression taken in the abstract, denotes nothing more than the power of one tribunal to review the proceedings of another, either as to the law or fact, or both. The mode of doing it may depend on ancient custom or legislative provision, (in a new government it must depend on the latter) and may be with or without the aid of a jury, as may be judged adviseable. If therefore the re-examination of a fact once determined by a jury, should in any case be admitted under the proposed constitution, it may be so regulated as to be done by a second jury, either by remanding the cause to the court below for a second trial of the fact, or by directing an issue immediately out of the supreme court.
But it does not follow that the re-examination of a fact once ascertained by a jury, will be permitted in the supreme court. Why may it not be said, with the strictest propriety, when a writ of error is brought from an inferior to a superior court of law in this state, that the latter has jurisdiction of the fact, as well as the law? It is true it cannot institute a new enquiry concerning the fact, but it takes cognizance of it as it appears upon the record, and pronounces the law arising upon it. * This is jurisdiction of both fact and law, nor is it even possible to separate them. Though the common law courts of this state ascertain disputed facts by a jury, yet they unquestionably have jurisdiction of both fact and law; and accordingly, when the former is agreed in the pleadings, they have no recourse to a jury, but proceed at once to judgment. I contend therefore on this ground, that the expressions, “appellate jurisdiction, both as to law and fact,” do not necessarily imply a re-examination in the supreme court of facts decided by juries in the inferior courts.
The following train of ideas may well be imagined to have influenced the convention in relation to this particular provision. The appellate jurisdiction of the supreme court (may it have been argued) 25 will extend to causes determinable in different modes, some in the course of the COMMON LAW, and 26 others in the course of the CIVIL LAW. In the former, the revision of the law only, will be, generally speaking, the proper province of the supreme court; in the latter, the re-examination of the fact is agreeable to usage, and in some cases, of which prize causes are an example, might be essential to the preservation of the public peace. It is therefore necessary, that the appellate jurisdiction should, in certain cases, extend in the broadest sense to matters of fact. It will not answer to make an express exception of cases, which shall have been originally tried by a jury, because in the courts of some of the states, all causes are tried in this mode; † and such an exception would preclude the revision of matters of fact, as well where it might be proper, as where it might be improper. To avoid all inconveniencies, it will be safest to declare generally, that the supreme court shall possess appellate jurisdiction, both as to law and fact , and that this jurisdiction shall be subject to such exceptions and regulations as the national legislature may prescribe. This will enable the government to modify it in such a manner as will best answer the ends of public justice and security.
This view of the matter, at any rate puts it out of all doubt that the supposed abolition of the trial by jury, by the operation of this provision, is fallacious and untrue. The legislature of the United States would certainly have full power to provide that in appeals to the supreme court there should be no re-examination of facts where they had been tried in the original causes by juries. This would certainly be an authorised exception; but if for the reason already intimated it should be thought too extensive, it might be qualified with a limitation to such causes only as are determinable at common law in that mode of trial.
The amount of the observations hitherto made on the authority of the judicial department is this—that it has been carefully restricted to those causes which are manifestly proper for the cognizance of the national judicature, that in the partition of this authority a very small portion of original jurisdiction has been reserved to the supreme court, and the rest consigned to the subordinate tribunals—that the supreme court will possess an appellate jurisdiction both as to law and fact in all the cases referred to them, but subject to any exceptions and regulations which may be thought adviseable; that this appellate jurisdiction does in no case abolish the trial by jury, and that an ordinary degree of prudence and integrity in the national councils will insure us solid advantages from the establishment of the proposed judiciary, without exposing us to any of the inconveniencies which have been predicted from that source.
J. and A. McLean, The Federalist , II, 310–22, published May 28, 1788, numbered 81. This essay was begun on June 25 and concluded on June 28 in The [New York] Independent Journal: or, the General Advertiser and is numbered 80. In New-York Packet it was begun on July 4 and concluded on July 8 and is numbered 81.
1 . For background to this document, see “The Federalist. Introductory Note,” October 27, 1787–May 28, 1788 .
2 . “(by the plan of the convention)” omitted in Hopkins description begins The Federalist On The New Constitution. By Publius. Written in 1788. To Which is Added, Pacificus, on The Proclamation of Neutrality. Written in 1793. Likewise, The Federal Constitution, With All the Amendments. Revised and Corrected. In Two Volumes (New York: Printed and Sold by George F. Hopkins, at Washington’s Head, 1802). description ends .
3 . “has not been, and” omitted in Hopkins.
4 . See essay 22 .
5 . “are advocates” substituted for “advocate” in Hopkins.
6 . “for” inserted at this point in Hopkins.
7 . “proposed” omitted in Hopkins.
8 . “under consideration” omitted in Hopkins.
9 . “the” omitted in Hopkins.
10 . “proposed” omitted in Hopkins.
11 . “influence their construction” substituted for “operate in interpreting them” in Hopkins.
12 . “that” substituted for “the character” in Hopkins.
13 . “as well” omitted in Hopkins.
14 . “these” substituted for “those” in Hopkins.
15 . “authorize” substituted for “empower” in Hopkins.
16 . “To confer upon the existing courts of the several states the power of determining such causes,” substituted for “To confer” through “several states” in Hopkins.
17 . “to them” inserted here in Hopkins.
18 . “to them” omitted in Hopkins.
19 . “distrust” substituted for “diffidence” in Hopkins.
20 . “with the aid of the state judges” omitted in Hopkins.
21 . “seen” substituted for “to be found” in Hopkins.
22 . See essay 32 .
23 . “cases” substituted for “causes” in Hopkins.
24 . “a” substituted for “any” in Hopkins.
25 . “it may have been argued” substituted for “(may it have been argued)” in Hopkins.
26 . “and” omitted in Hopkins.
[The following note(s) appeared in the margins or otherwise outside the text flow in the original source, and have been moved here for purposes of the digital edition.]
* Article 3. Sec. 1.
* This power has been absurdly represented as intended to abolish all the county courts in the several states, which are commonly called inferior courts. But the expressions of the constitution are to constitute “tribunals Inferior to the Supreme Court ,” and the evident design of the provision is to enable the institution of local courts subordinate to the supreme, either in states or larger districts. It is ridiculous to imagine that county courts were in contemplation.
* This word is a compound of Jus and Dictio , juris, dictio, or a speaking or pronouncing of the law.
† I hold that the states will have concurrent jurisdiction with the subordinate federal judicatories, in many cases of federal cognizance, as will be explained in my next paper.
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By: History.com Editors
Updated: March 22, 2022 | Original: January 28, 2010
John Jay was an American statesman and Founding Father who served the United States in numerous government offices, including the Supreme Court where he served as the first chief justice. The New York native drafted the state’s first constitution in 1777, and was chosen president of the Continental Congress the following year. Jay served as the key negotiator at the Treaty of Paris, which ended the American Revolutionary War and recognized the independence of the United States.
John Jay's Early Years
Born in New York City in 1745, John Jay came from a wealthy merchant family whose ancestors included French Huguenots . He began his career as a lawyer in 1764 after graduating from the newly established King’s College, now Columbia University .
He soon become prominent in New York politics and was elected to the first Continental Congress in 1774 as a representative from New York. During the first Continental Congress, delegates from the American colonies met to discuss resistance to the increasingly oppressive laws enacted by the British Parliament in the lead up to the Revolutionary War .
Jay was not a loyalist to the British Crown, though he initially promoted a peaceful resolution with Great Britain instead of independence. He urged the British government to reconcile with the colonists. He supported the Revolution, however, as war became increasingly likely.
Jay spent much of the Revolutionary War as a diplomat to Spain where he spent three frustrating years, from 1779 to 1782, trying to garner financial support for the American Revolution and an alliance with Spain. (Spain entered the war against Great Britain as an ally of France, though never officially aligned itself with the colonial rebellion.)
Treaty of Paris
In 1782, Jay joined the five-member peace commission tasked with negotiating a peace treaty with Great Britain after the American-French victory at Yorktown ended the fighting in the American colonies.
Two of the members of the commission, Henry Laurens and Thomas Jefferson , did not participate, leaving three men—Jay, Benjamin Franklin and John Adams —to negotiate a treaty with the British.
During the negotiations, Jay pressed strongly for the British recognition of American independence. He also helped the United States secure all land east of the Mississippi River, with the exception of British territories in Canada and Spanish territory in Florida , effectively doubling the size of the new nation.
Signed on September 3, 1783, the Treaty of Paris formally ended the American Revolution.
After the American Revolution, Jay believed in a stronger central government than that created by the Articles of the Confederation, the first constitution of the United States.
Jay, along with Alexander Hamilton and James Madison , wrote a series of essays under the pseudonym “Publius” in 1787 and 1788 promoting the ratification of a new U.S. Constitution .
Later collected into a publication known as the Federalist Papers , they argued for a system that would create an effective federal government to act in the national interest while also preserving some power for the States.
The essays were very influential and helped to shape the U.S. Constitution as we know it today.
First Supreme Court Justice
George Washington appointed John Jay the first Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court in 1789.
Unlike today’s Supreme Court, which consists of nine justices , the Jay Court had only six Supreme Court justices—a chief justice and five associates. All judges were appointed by the nation’s first President, George Washington .
Jay, who served until 1795, decided just four cases during his tenure on the nation’s highest-ranking judicial court, though he was influential in establishing rules and procedures for the American court system.
After the Treaty of Paris ended the American Revolution, tensions remained high between Great Britain and the United States over a number of unresolved issues.
Britain blocked American exports with trade restrictions and tariffs while continuing to occupy North American forts they had agreed to vacate at the end of the war. In 1794, the Royal Navy seized hundreds of American merchantmen carrying contraband from the French West Indies.
Seeking to achieve peace and better commercial ties with its former foe, Washington sent John Jay to England to negotiate a controversial treaty with the British. While the treaty that Jay negotiated solved some of the differences with Great Britain, it was immensely unpopular at home. Critics found the treaty—which President Washington supported—too favorable to the British.
Jay’s Treaty helped delay another costly war between the United States and Great Britain until the War of 1812 , though John Jay paid the price in popularity. His effigy was burned in several U.S. cities: Jay himself reportedly joked that he could travel at night from Boston to Philadelphia by the light of his burning effigies.
Jay was elected governor of New York in 1795, at which point he resigned from the Supreme Court. He served as governor until 1801. (Jay also ran unsuccessfully for president in 1796 and 1800.)
As governor, Jay signed a bill in 1799 outlawing slavery in New York, though he was a slaveholder until 1798.
Jay retired to his farm in Westchester County, New York, in 1801. He stayed out of politics for the most part, though in 1819 he condemned efforts to admit Missouri to the Union as a slave state, believing that slavery should “not to be introduced nor permitted in any of the new states.”
Jay died in May 1829 in Bedford, New York. He is buried at his family’s private cemetery in nearby Rye on the Jay Estate , part of the Boston Post Road Historic District, a National Historic Landmark.
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A brief biography of John Jay; Columbia University .
John Jay’s Treaty, 1794-1795; U.S. Office of the Historian .
The life of John Jay; Friends of John Jay Homestead .
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What Did the Federalist Papers Say About Supreme Court Appointments?
Mr. Pompeian was HNN's Assistant Editor for Breaking News.
Note: The source for the quotations used in this article come from the Library of Congress website.
Federalist #76: Alexander Hamilton in the New York Packet Tuesday, April 1, 1788
Hamilton rejects giving power to appoint in hands of the electorate or their legislature
The exercise of it [appointment] by the people at large will be readily admitted to be impracticable; as waiving every other consideration, it would leave them little time to do anything else… The people collectively, from their number and from their dispersed situation, cannot be regulated in their movements by that systematic spirit of cabal and intrigue, which will be urged as the chief objections to reposing the power in question in a body of men.
Appointment is the responsibility of the president
... there would always be great probability of having the place [the presidency] supplied by a man of abilities, at least respectable. Premising this, I proceed to lay it down as a rule, that one man of discernment is better fitted to analyze and estimate the peculiar qualities adapted to particular offices, than a body of men of equal or perhaps even of superior discernment.
Impartiality and the President’s sense of duty to the People are to guide his appointments
The sole and undivided responsibility of one man will naturally beget a livelier sense of duty and a more exact regard to reputation. He will, on this account, feel himself under stronger obligations, and more interested to investigate with care the qualities requisite to the stations to be filled, and to prefer with impartiality the persons who may have the fairest pretensions to them.
Impartiality and merit are to guide the President in his nominations
He will have FEWER personal attachments to gratify, than a body of men who may each be supposed to have an equal number; and will be so much the less liable to be misled by the sentiments of friendship and of affection. A single well-directed man, by a single understanding, cannot be distracted and warped by that diversity of views, feelings, and interests, which frequently distract and warp the resolutions of a collective body. There is nothing so apt to agitate the passions of mankind as personal considerations whether they relate to ourselves or to others, who are to be the objects of our choice or preference.
Problem posed by a Senate with sole power to appoint
...in every exercise of the power of appointing to offices, by an assembly of men, we must expect to see a full display of all the private and party likings and dislikes, partialities and antipathies, attachments and animosities, which are felt by those who compose the assembly. The choice which may at any time happen to be made under such circumstances, will of course be the result either of a victory gained by one party over the other, or of a compromise between the parties. In either case, the intrinsic merit of the candidate will be too often out of sight. In the first, the qualifications best adapted to uniting the suffrages of the party, will be more considered than those which fit the person for the station. In the last, the coalition will commonly turn upon some interested equivalent: ‘Give us the man we wish for this office, and you shall have the one you wish for that.’ This will be the usual condition of the bargain. And it will rarely happen that the advancement of the public service will be the primary object either of party victories or of party negotiations.
Hamilton explains why the President has the power to nominate and is not given the “absolute power of appointment”
... every advantage…would, in substance, be derived from the power of NOMINATION, which is proposed to be conferred upon him; while several disadvantages which might attend the absolute power of appointment in the hands of that officer would be avoided.
Hamilton explains the relationship between nomination and appointment
In the act of nomination, his judgment alone would be exercised; and as it would be his sole duty to point out the man who, with the approbation of the Senate, should fill an office, his responsibility would be as complete as if he were to make the final appointment. There can, in this view, be no difference between nominating and appointing. The same motives which would influence a proper discharge of his duty in one case, would exist in the other. And as no man could be appointed but on his previous nomination, every man who might be appointed would be, in fact, his choice.
The person ultimately appointed must be the object of his [the President’s] preference, though perhaps not in the first degree. It is also not very probable that his nomination would often be overruled. The Senate could not be tempted, by the preference they might feel to another, to reject the one proposed; because they could not assure themselves, that the person they might wish would be brought forward by a second or by any subsequent nomination. They could not even be certain, that a future nomination would present a candidate in any degree more acceptable to them; and as their dissent might cast a kind of stigma upon the individual rejected, and might have the appearance of a reflection upon the judgment of the chief magistrate, it is not likely that their sanction would often be refused, where there were not special and strong reasons for the refusal.
The Senate confirmation is a necessary check on the partiality of the Executive
... the necessity of their [the Senate’s] concurrence would have a powerful, though, in general, a silent operation. It would be an excellent check upon a spirit of favoritism in the President, and would tend greatly to prevent the appointment of unfit characters from State prejudice, from family connection, from personal attachment, or from a view to popularity. In addition to this, it would be an efficacious source of stability in the administration.
The Senate confirmation is a check on the self-interest and impulsiveness of the President
... a man who had himself the sole disposition of offices, would be governed much more by his private inclinations and interests, than when he was bound to submit the propriety of his choice to the discussion and determination of a different and independent body, and that body an entire branch of the legislature. The possibility of rejection would be a strong motive to care in proposing. The danger to his own reputation, and, in the case of an elective magistrate, to his political existence, from betraying a spirit of favoritism, or an unbecoming pursuit of popularity, to the observation of a body whose opinion would have great weight in forming that of the public, could not fail to operate as a barrier to the one and to the other.
Protections against the appointment of unqualified candidates
He [the President] would be both ashamed and afraid to bring forward, for the most distinguished or lucrative stations, candidates who had no other merit than that of coming from the same State to which he particularly belonged, or of being in some way or other personally allied to him, or of possessing the necessary insignificance and pliancy to render them the obsequious instruments of his pleasure.
“Independent” and “public spirited men” amongst the Senate are essential
... there is always a large proportion of the body [referring to the British House of Commons], which consists of independent and public-spirited men, who have an influential weight in the councils of the nation. Hence it is (the present reign not excepted) that the sense of that body is often seen to control the inclinations of the monarch, both with regard to men and to measures. Though it might therefore be allowable to suppose that the Executive might occasionally influence some individuals in the Senate, yet the supposition, that he could in general purchase the integrity of the whole body, would be forced and improbable.
The Senate confirmation is a necessary check on the Executive
A man disposed to view human nature as it is, without either flattering its virtues or exaggerating its vices, will see sufficient ground of confidence in the probity of the Senate, to rest satisfied, not only that it will be impracticable to the Executive to corrupt or seduce a majority of its members, but that the necessity of its co-operation, in the business of appointments, will be a considerable and salutary restraint upon the conduct of that magistrate.
Federalist #77: Alexander Hamilton in the New York Packet , Friday, April 4, 1788
The President’s responsibility for a bad appointment
... the power of nomination is unequivocally vested in the Executive. And as there would be a necessity for submitting each nomination to the judgment of an entire branch of the legislature, the circumstances attending an appointment, from the mode of conducting it, would naturally become matters of notoriety; and the public would be at no loss to determine what part had been performed by the different actors. The blame of a bad nomination would fall upon the President singly and absolutely.
The Senate’s responsibility for a bad appointment
The censure of rejecting a good one would lie entirely at the door of the Senate; aggravated by the consideration of their having counteracted the good intentions of the Executive. If an ill appointment should be made, the Executive for nominating, and the Senate for approving, would participate, though in different degrees, in the opprobrium and disgrace.
Hamilton rejects placing the power to appoint offices onto a committee
Every mere council of appointment, however constituted, will be a conclave, in which cabal and intrigue will have their full scope. Their number, without an unwarrantable increase of expense, cannot be large enough to preclude a facility of combination. And as each member will have his friends and connections to provide for, the desire of mutual gratification will beget a scandalous bartering of votes and bargaining for places. The private attachments of one man might easily be satisfied; but to satisfy the private attachments of a dozen, or of twenty men, would occasion a monopoly of all the principal employments of the government in a few families, and would lead more directly to an aristocracy or an oligarchy than any measure that could be contrived.
Hamilton rejects giving the House of Representatives the power to nominate
A body so fluctuating and at the same time so numerous, can never be deemed proper for the exercise of that power. Its unfitness will appear manifest to all, when it is recollected that in half a century it may consist of three or four hundred persons. All the advantages of the stability, both of the Executive and of the Senate, would be defeated by this union, and infinite delays and embarrassments would be occasioned.
Federalist #78: Alexander Hamilton in New York's McLEAN'S Edition, 1788
The Judiciary must not become united with either branch of government:
And it proves, in the last place, that as liberty can have nothing to fear from the judiciary alone, but would have every thing to fear from its union with either of the other departments; that as all the effects of such a union must ensue from a dependence of the former on the latter, notwithstanding a nominal and apparent separation; that as, from the natural feebleness of the judiciary, it is in continual jeopardy of being overpowered, awed, or influenced by its co-ordinate branches; and that as nothing can contribute so much to its firmness and independence as permanency in office, this quality may therefore be justly regarded as an indispensable ingredient in its constitution, and, in a great measure, as the citadel of the public justice and the public security.
Why lifetime appointments to the Supreme Court are necessary
That inflexible and uniform adherence to the rights of the Constitution, and of individuals, which we perceive to be indispensable in the courts of justice, can certainly not be expected from judges who hold their offices by a temporary commission. Periodical appointments, however regulated, or by whomsoever made, would, in some way or other, be fatal to their necessary independence. If the power of making them was committed either to the Executive or legislature, there would be danger of an improper complaisance to the branch which possessed it; if to both, there would be an unwillingness to hazard the displeasure of either; if to the people, or to persons chosen by them for the special purpose, there would be too great a disposition to consult popularity, to justify a reliance that nothing would be consulted but the Constitution and the laws....
Hence it is, that there can be but few men in the society who will have sufficient skill in the laws to qualify them for the stations of judges. And making the proper deductions for the ordinary depravity of human nature, the number must be still smaller of those who unite the requisite integrity with the requisite knowledge. These considerations apprise us, that the government can have no great option between fit character; and that a temporary duration in office, which would naturally discourage such characters from quitting a lucrative line of practice to accept a seat on the bench, would have a tendency to throw the administration of justice into hands less able, and less well qualified, to conduct it with utility and dignity.
John chapman - 1/14/2006.
"one man of discernment is better fitted to analyze and estimate the peculiar qualities adapted to particular offices, than a body of men of equal or perhaps even of superior discernment." A wise view. However, the problem posed by a Senate with sole power to appoint can be subject to the same problem posed by the President with the power to appoint. Since the President is also just a man, he also has "private and party likings and dislikes, partialities and antipathies, attachments and animosities" as does the Senate , so it really all depends on the luck of the draw, what kind of President the nation happens to have at the time which determines who gets appointed and which way the Supreme Court gets stacked. So all this discussion is nice but really such a moot point. In the Alito case, judgment by both the dominating party and President make it a no-contest situation. This is good or bad luck depending on your party affiliation. As for check and balances, it hardly exists at this point in time. The cowardly Democrats who are asking questions, are acting as if they are only mildly perturbed and are (pretending?) see the "wisdom" of supporting his nomination. This is good too as long there is no problem with Alito being a non-partisan judge. But if Alito has any predilections toward all those things the Democrats fear, I doubt he’s going to admit them. Why should he? Which is one reason why America needs a third party representing the working class, one that stands up for its principles and refuses to be cowed by the well-organized Right (and the Left when they are in power), especially when the Right seems to be collapsing under the force of its own overreach.
Frederick Thomas - 7/13/2005
..of the thoughts of the (Federalist) founding fathers. One hears the echos of David Hume, who though he died as the revolution began, is surely the originator of the sceptical perception of human nature evident here. Ed Pompeian has done us a service. My favorite passage: "Hence it is, that there can be but few men in the society who will have sufficient skill in the laws to qualify them for the stations of judges. "And making the proper deductions for the ordinary depravity of human nature, the number must be still smaller of those who unite the requisite integrity with the requisite knowledge."
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The Supreme Court: 'Originalism's' Theory and the Federalist Papers' Reality
"Constitutional originalism is all the rage...." So begins Jeffrey Rosen's Week in Review article ( New York Times, January 9. 2011 ) about political thought in the Tea Party era.
Actually, "originalism" has, of course, been hotly debated for more than two decades. It is just one of many theories which judges, lawyers and academics have used in an effort to find principled limits on the Supreme Court's paradoxical power to invoke the Constitution in invalidating legislative, regulatory or executive rules promulgated by other, more democratically accountable governmental institutions. (For a description of the issues in the context of Citizens United see "Supreme Paradox", The Atlantic , January 24, 2010 .)
The motive behind such efforts is that Court decisions, regardless of their arcane legal reasoning, can have consequential and controversial impacts on our national life: the practice of religions; the reach of economic regulation; our degree of privacy; the power of the States to regulate immigrants ... and on and on.
Such theories limiting Supreme Court discretion have been sought by "liberals" when a "conservative" court struck down Progressive and New Deal era social and economic legislation using, for example, the Due Process or Contracts Clauses. Similarly, "conservatives" seek such limiting theories when a "liberal" court uses the Bill of Rights to expand individual liberties (e.g. protecting the privacy right to reproductive choice) in the face of Federal or State restrictions. There is the direct if inconsistent flip side when, at other times, both liberals and conservatives, now in the majority rather than the minority, are not concerned about limitations on judicial action but on finding authority in the Constitution to strike down legislative or regulatory restrictions on social, political or economic liberty of persons or organizations.
But, whatever their name and however contradictory their purpose (to expand or to limit the reach of enumerated and un-enumerated constitutional rights), such theories invariably fail to explain—or constrain—the results in constitutional cases over time which, inevitably, stem from shifting judicial coalitions and basic constitutional value choices which the Justices usually justify after the fact in their weighty (and often lengthy) decisions.
To preserve the "legitimacy" of the court, a vast industry exists to analyze the decisions and seek principled theories for justifying judicial activism (voiding laws) or judicial restraint (deferring to more democratically accountable institutions). But most sophisticated observers of the Court understand that results in hard and controversial cases are not derived from logical systems but from basic value choices which flow from, among other things, a complex amalgam of law, facts, precedent, history, personal character, ideology, contemporary political culture, and practical implications of the decision. Some Justices may have theories to which they generally adhere (from Black to Frankfurter to Scalia) but these theories stem from complex personal and legal careers and value systems. Moreover, the Justices at the center of the Court, who decide the close cases, often are not intellectually holistic or even consistent in their efforts to "do justice."
Let me return to "originalism" as an example. Although all students of constitutional adjudication would acknowledge that historical understanding is important, "originalism" in its most didactic form, like other holistic constitutional theories, has obvious limits. As it has evolved over more than 20 years, it has taken two forms (although Rosen doesn't make this distinction clear in his article).
One form—"original intent"— looks to the plain meaning of the constitutional words ("cruel and unusual" punishment") and, if that meaning does not decide a case 200 years later, that "originalist" formulation then tries to divine what the drafters and ratifiers of the Constitutional provisions intended. But there is no one historical method of determining the intent of multiple actors (with a variety of motives) in a highly political process. A brilliant exposition of the political fights about the constitution's origins—and the difficulty of ascertaining precise intent on specific provisions— is Bernard Bailyn's essay, "The Federalist Papers, " in his book To Begin the World Anew: The Genius and Ambiguities of the American Founders (Knopf 2003).
Bailyn, one of the great historians of America in the past half century, notes that the Federalist Papers were penned amidst a bitter fight over ratification of the Constitution; were hurriedly produced by Hamilton (51 papers), Madison (29) and John Jay (5) who did not coordinate their efforts; were styled as pamphlets to sway opinion, not as records of the secret debates at the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia (Jay wasn't even there); contained ideas which had not been developed at the Convention in order to defend the basic constitutional structure of "uniting national power and personal liberty" which forceful anti-federalist papers had attacked; and, understandably were not given great deference by the Supreme Court as an expression of founder's intent until recent decades (both Madison and Chief Justice Marshall warned against reliance on the Papers as an authoritative source of intent).
To avoid the problems of ascertaining the "intent" of the framers, a second school of originalism focuses not on "intent" but on "original meaning", which widens the lens of historical inquiry to ascertain how a "reasonable person" would have understood the Constitutional provisions in the historical period during which such provisions were proposed, ratified and first implemented. But, without wandering off into the thickets of scholarly disputation, it should be obvious that constructing the "reasonable man" of 1789 (as if there were not, even then, a wide variety of views held by thoughtful people) and ascribing to that fictional person the key to constitutional interpretation is, on its face, problematic.
But beyond that issue, the fundamental question, of course, is whether the founders of the Constitution intended that generations yet unborn should be bound by the understandings of the late-18th-century time (assuming that such understandings could be discerned with reasonable certainty) unless altered by the constitutional amendment process or whether the meaning of the great Constitutional provisions, as interpreted not just by the Supreme Court but also by the Congress and the President, should also evolve over time through other less cumbersome processes as well. In any event, numerous Supreme Court cases have, in fact, interpreted key Constitutional provisions according to social, economic, and political developments, and the current court has to deal with that robust decisional history which can often be at odds with original understandings, as even the "originalists" acknowledge.
Rosen's article cites conservatives who say that "originalism" in whatever form has not—and perhaps cannot—be applied consistently to contemporary constitutional problems. One of the most respected conservative scholars, Professor Michael McConnell of Stanford Law School, is quoted to this effect: "Recently, originalism has taken some serious hits on the court, not because of its opponents, but because of its proponents, who manifested a distinct lack of interest in following the original understanding when it became inconvenient."
And, in The Dynamic Constitution: An Introduction to American Constitutional Law (Cambridge University Press) , Harvard Law Professor Richard Fallon notes that, although conservatives emotionally profess concern about the Supreme Court's "counter-majoritarian" decisions and use "originalist" doctrines to restrain "counter-majoritarian" impulses, "charges of 'counter-majoritarianism ' can be leveled at conservatives as well. Fallon then goes on to cite decisions where seemingly "conservative" Justices were activist is using the Constitution to strike down "numerous pieces of federal regulation" such as prohibitions on violence against women, affirmative action, restrictions on commercial advertising. Had the book been written today, Fallon would have also cited the Court's recent decision in Citizens United , invalidating provisions of the McCain-Feingold election laws, and looked forward with interest to the Court's decision, several years hence, on the constitutionality of national health reform.
The now long-standing debate about "originalism" is thus just part of an argument without end about how to justify the realistic essence of Supreme Court constitutional decisions when it substitutes its judgment for the judgment of other organs of government—or when it chooses not to do so.
I wish we could have a more honest about how the Court actually works—which those who wish to "preserve" the Court's legitimacy shy away from—whether it is controlled by a liberal majority or a conservative one. When construing the great provisions of the constitution in new and vexing cases—protecting free speech, prohibiting establishment of religion, securing due process, requiring equal protection, banning cruel and unusual punishment—and when deciding either to strike down legislative, regulatory, executive or State-originated rules or to sustain them, the Court is filling in uncertain and capacious constitutional content with its choices about constitutional "values."
The choices in these new, difficult cases—whether to strike down or uphold—are not required by immutable principles, unambiguous history, or crystalline holdings from prior cases, however much the Court might like to present the decision as if it were so. They are, instead, as I have noted above, the result of a complex set of factors—both legal and personal—which shape constitutional "values."
Although constitutional language, history and precedent provide limits on the Court's discretion—and the Constitution itself limits the types of cases and controversies which may properly come before the Court— the questions in most controversial contemporary cases are the ones which reflect fundamental tensions in our constitutional system: the separation of powers at the federal level (Congressional, Presidential and Judicial), the appropriate distribution of sole or shared power between the Federal government and the States, and the instances when constitutional guarantees of individual liberty (either enumerated or un-enumerated) protect minorities from an overbearing majority. The nature of these tensions—and how they could generally be reconciled in our dynamic constitutional system—was the great subject of the Federalist Papers, not how those tensions would be resolved in particular cases or the precise intent of the 55 members of the then completed Constitutional Convention.
These profound questions of American government—these fundamental values in tension within our constitutional scheme—are thus the fundamental riddles of judicial review. And no "doctrine" of Supreme Court decision-making—"originalism" or "neutral principles" or "judicial restraint" or "natural law" or "protecting democratic processes" or "protection of rights of minorities unable to protect themselves" or "common law approach"—is going a priori to solve those question which present themselves in the complex factual reality of all hard cases.
Resolving those profound tensions which have no simplistic or rigid answer requires not doctrinal purity, but wisdom and judgment about when the Court should serve as a balance wheel in our society because, for example, other governmental institutions have exceeded their bounds in injuring constitutional values (denials of free speech) or lack present capacity or will to deal with pressing issues that have constitutional dimensions (segregation in Southern states). It has been both restrained and active in our history—sometimes for "good" and sometimes for "ill."
The very nature of the Court's counter-majoritarianism means we as a nation will argue fiercely and endlessly about those good or that ill impacts. It is fine to debate holistic doctrines like "originalism," which seek to justify decisions and the Court's role, however limited they may prove to be in dictating results in an evolving, complex society. But we will also, invariably and properly, debate whether the results of the Court's decisions voiding laws and regulations were wise because other institutions had ridden roughshod over constitutional values or had failed, over time, to demonstrate the ability or will to protect those values enshrined in the Constitution.
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Barrett latest justice to receive Federalist Society ovation
By Steve Benen
A year ago this week, Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito received a standing ovation at a Federalist Society event, where the jurist praised the conservative group and its impact. “Boy,” the far-right justice said , “is your work needed today.”
Alito wasn’t alone: Justices Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh, and Amy Coney Barrett, each of whom were nominated by Donald Trump, were also in attendance.
Almost exactly a year later, the Federalist Society held another celebration in the nation’s capital, and the identical lineup of four sitting Supreme Court justices were again on hand to join in the organization’s festivities. This time, however, it was a different conservative receiving an ovation. The Washington Post reported :
Justice Amy Coney Barrett received a standing ovation Thursday night at a black-tie gala for the Federalist Society, the conservative legal group that played a key role in her 2020 nomination and in helping former president Donald Trump transform the federal judiciary.
To be sure, Barrett’s comments at the event were rather anodyne. She talked about her schedule, her family, and the “collegial” relationships she enjoys with her contemporaries on the high court.
But her appearance was notable in its own right, independent of her remarks.
It’s one thing when Supreme Court justices appear at universities or legal symposiums; it’s something else when they extend their imprimatur to ideological causes. Politico, for example, has described the Federalist Society as a “right-leaning lawyers’ group that has become instrumental in grooming and vetting candidates to be nominated to the federal judiciary by Republican presidents.”
When a sitting justice — or more to the point, when the same four sitting justices — repeatedly help celebrate such an organization, they necessarily give the impression that they’re part of a broader political movement.
What’s more, Barrett’s appearance came against a backdrop in which the Senate Judiciary Committee is investigating Supreme Court ethics controversies. As part of its probe, the panel has questions for conservative activist Leonard Leo — one of the Federalist Society’s longtime leaders, who was also in attendance last night.
None of this does the court any favors. Gallup polling has found public trust in the Supreme Court deteriorating to historical lows, and a national Grinnell College/Selzer survey last year found that nearly two-thirds of Americans agree that politics drives the justices’ rulings.
Members of the court’s far-right majority could take steps to reassure the public that the Supreme Court is a neutral arbiter worthy of trust and respect. They keep doing the opposite.
A couple of years ago, Barrett tried to defend the Supreme Court’s political impartiality — while speaking alongside Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, who rushed her onto the bench during the 2020 presidential election as part of a brazenly political display.
“My goal today is to convince you that this court is not comprised of a bunch of partisan hacks,” the justice said at the time.
Is it any wonder why some find her assurances hard to believe?
This post updates our related earlier coverage .
Steve Benen is a producer for "The Rachel Maddow Show," the editor of MaddowBlog and an MSNBC political contributor. He's also the bestselling author of "The Impostors: How Republicans Quit Governing and Seized American Politics."
Law & Crime
‘To dispel this misunderstanding…’: Justices all sign on to Supreme Court code of conduct that makes no mention of repercussions for ethical violations
Posted: November 13, 2023 | Last updated: November 13, 2023
WASHINGTON, DC – OCTOBER 07: United States Supreme Court (front row L-R) Associate Justice Sonia Sotomayor, Associate Justice Clarence Thomas, Chief Justice of the United States John Roberts, Associate Justice Samuel Alito, and Associate Justice Elena Kagan, (back row L-R) Associate Justice Amy Coney Barrett, Associate Justice Neil Gorsuch, Associate Justice Brett Kavanaugh and Associate Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson pose for their official portrait at the East Conference Room of the Supreme Court building on October 7, 2022 in Washington, DC. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)
The Supreme Court of the United States adopted an official and long-awaited Code of Conduct for Justices Monday, just weeks after Justice Amy Coney Barrett publicly said that all nine justices considered an ethics code “a good idea.”
Although the 14-page code details a number of ethical expectations, it conspicuously excludes any mention of enforcement mechanism or penalty for violation. The legal community appears divided over the significance of the omission; while some fault the justices for making much ado about a lamentably impotent set of ethics standards, others say that a more forceful enforcement mechanism would be constitutionally impossible.
As the justices noted in their introductory statement, many of the code’s requirements are “not new,” and mirrored ethics rules from other sources including those that apply to other members of the federal judiciary.
They further explained that their decision to issue a formal code of conduct was an attempt to correct a recent “misunderstanding” that the justices operated “unrestricted by any ethics rules.” The code, they explained, was merely an accounting of the standards to which they have already been holding themselves.
More specifically, the code requires that justices uphold the independence of the federal judiciary, avoid all forms of impropriety and outside influence, operate without bias or fear of criticism, recuse themselves in cases to which they are personally connected, avoid engaging in activities that “ detract from the dignity ” of official duties, and refrain from engaging in political activity .
All nine justices signed on to the new code.
Reactions to the Court’s release of the code were, as could reasonably be predicted, swift and fierce. The most common criticism, voiced by many lawyers , was that the code conspicuously lacks any enforcement mechanism.
University of Texas School of Professor Steve Vladeck observed that, “Nothing in the 14-page document, or the one-page cover note, addresses the elephant in the room: *Whatever* rules the justices *say* they are bound to follow, *who* is going to enforce those rules—and how?”
Similarly, Fix the Court’s Gabe Roth released a statement slamming the justices for “clearly and for years fail[ing] to live up to their ethical responsibilities,” and pronouncing the Code as one which “leave[s] much to be desired.”
“If the nine are going to release an ethics code with no enforcement mechanism and remain the only police of the nine, then how can the public trust they’re going to do anything more than simply cover for one another, ethics be damned?” asked Roth, who also specifically noted that the Code’s use of the word “knowingly” appeared to signal an excuse of Justice Clarence Thomas’ dealings with Harlan Crow.
Likewise, Georgia State Constitutional law professor at Georgia State University College of Law Anthony Michael Kreis said , “A Code of Conduct with no meaningful enforcement mechanism is a mere gesture.”
Anthony Coley, former Head of Public Affairs of the U.S. Justice Department under Barack Obama, slammed the code for having “no teeth.”
“It’s silent on the most important question: When a Justice violates it, then what?” asked Coley.
However, Constitutional expert and former Antonin Scalia clerk Ed Whelan argued that the absence of a specific enforcement mechanism is “a necessary imperfection in the system” and that proposals to correct that imperfection “would likely create more problems than they would solve.” Whelan’s comments quoted partially from a 2021 official report made by Brookings Institution Research Fellow and former Deputy Director of the Federal Judicial Center Russell R. Wheeler to the Presidential Commission on the Supreme Court of the United States.
In Wheeler’s report, he specifically addressed the question of whether Congress should create a mechanism by which other judges would investigate and sanction misconduct by Supreme Court justices. Wheeler concluded that the answer was a blunt “no.” Wheeler detailed the road to his conclusion: if Congress were to create a disciplinary mechanism, most — or perhaps the only — plausible people to staff it would be lower court judges or retired justices. That would be a problem, said Wheeler, because lower court judges, “simply have no legitimate role in the administration of the Supreme Court,” specifically due to the fact that lower courts were created by Congress while SCOTUS was created directly by the Constitution.
Furthermore, said Wheeler, an official enforcement body could “weaponize a judicial conduct complaint procedure for the justices, drawing in not only the justices but also those who appoint the panel.” Under such a system, Wheeler noted, complaints might become the favored response to misconduct, simply because impeachment is more cumbersome. Moreover, a small bureaucracy would need creation to handle what would likely be a flood of complaints, though “almost all of them frivolous,” given comparable data.
Vladeck and Whelan went back and forth several times online with Vladeck pointing to a suggestion he raised in October. Vladeck advocated for the appointment of an Article III Inspector General who would monitor compliance with ethics rules, and discipline employees who are not Article III judges, recommend disciplinary action against lower court judges, and report misconduct by Supreme Court justices directly to Congress.
Whelan, in turn, pointed out that Vladeck’s proposed solution was action by Congress and not the Court itself, to which Vladeck responded, “Sure, but if the justices were truly committed to putting teeth into these new rules, they could certainly work with Congress—or, at the very least, note the possibility of such a mechanism.”
In recent months, calls for ethics checks on Supreme Court justices reached something of a climax. In late October, the Senate Judiciary Committee posted on X , previously known as Twitter, that a “[n]ew report finds that Justice Clarence Thomas failed to disclose $250,000+ of loan forgiveness for an RV, lent to him by a wealthy health care industry benefactor.”
Last July, the Senate Judiciary Committee passed a measure that would subject Supreme Court justices to stricter standards, increased public scrutiny, and a dedicated investigative board for misconduct allegations. Though Senate Judiciary Chair Dick Durbin, D-Ill., hailed the the bill as “a crucial first step in restoring confidence in the Court,” Senate Republicans declared the measure “dead as fried chicken.”
Of course, Supreme Court justices — like other members of the federal judiciary — can be removed through the impeachment process for misconduct. Indeed, as allegations against Thomas have mounted, some have suggested his impeachment . However, despite the theoretical possibility of impeachment, only one justice has ever been impeached. Associate Justice and note Federalist Samuel Chase was impeached in 1804 after the House of Representatives passed Articles of Impeachment against him for allowing partisan loyalty affect his court decisions. However, Chase was acquitted the following year by the Senate and remained in office.
You can read the full Code of Conduct for Justices here .
The post ‘To dispel this misunderstanding…’: Justices all sign on to Supreme Court code of conduct that makes no mention of repercussions for ethical violations first appeared on Law & Crime .
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US Supreme Court liberals dissent in 'unusually severe' solitary confinement case
People walk across the plaza of the U.S. Supreme Court building on the first day of the court's new term in Washington, U.S. October 3, 2022. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst/File Photo Acquire Licensing Rights
WASHINGTON, Nov 13 (Reuters) - The U.S. Supreme Court's three liberal justices on Monday sharply objected to the court's refusal to hear an appeal by a former Illinois inmate who was kept in solitary confinement in a state prison and virtually deprived of any exercise for about three years.
The court takes up appeals when at least four of its nine justices agree to hear a case. None of the six conservative justices joined with the liberal justices to provide the fourth vote needed to hear former inmate Michael Johnson's appeal of a lower court's ruling rejecting his 2016 civil rights lawsuit accusing prison officials of violating the U.S. Constitution's Eighth Amendment bar on cruel and unusual punishment.
Johnson was incarcerated after being convicted of home invasion and subsequently was convicted while in prison of two instances of aggravated battery against a peace officer.
Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson, in an eight-page dissent joined by fellow liberals Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan, said the lower court applied the wrong legal test to determine whether Johnson's treatment violated the Eighth Amendment.
Jackson described Johnson's solitary confinement as "unusually severe," noting that "prison officials completely deprived Johnson of exercise for nearly all of his incarceration" at Pontiac Correctional Center.
"The cramped confines of Johnson's cell prevented him from exercising there," Jackson wrote. "Thus, for three years, Johnson had no opportunity at all to stretch his limbs or breathe fresh air."
Illinois Democratic Attorney General Kwame Raoul had urged the justices to reject the appeal.
Johnson, 42, is currently released on parole, according to his lawyer Daniel Greenfield. Johnson has a history of mental illness, including depression and bipolar disorder, and suicide attempts, according to his lawyers.
During his roughly 3-1/2 years at the Pontiac facility, Johnson was found to have committed 46 violations of prison rules arising from 30 incidents, with 16 of those incidents resulting in "yard restrictions," limiting an inmate to one hour of outdoor yard access per month, Illinois officials said in court papers.
He has claimed that on multiple occasions he was denied his monthly one hour of yard access, and that from June 2015 to June 2016 he was not permitted a single hour of exercise.
The deprivation compromised his physical and mental health, according to his lawsuit.
"His muscles withered, he repeatedly smeared feces on his body, endured hallucinations and compulsively picked at his own flesh, and he required 'suicide watch' time and again," his lawyers said in court papers.
Johnson sought monetary damages, medical treatment and other relief in the lawsuit accusing prison officials of violating the Eighth Amendment by denying him exercise for a prolonged period. A federal judge rejected his claims, finding that Johnson "cannot show that he suffered adverse health consequences as a result of the denial of access to the yard."
The Chicago-based 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the judge's decision in 2022, concluding that yard privilege denials as punishment for prisoner misconduct are legal unless meted out for "some utterly trivial infraction" of prison rules. Despite the lengthy deprivation, Johnson's infractions, "including spitting on inmates or guards and throwing urine and feces," were serious, the 7th Circuit concluded.
Jackson faulted the 7th Circuit's analysis, saying that instead of assessing the triviality of Johnson's prison infractions, it should have applied the Supreme Court's test assessing whether prison officials have acted with "deliberate indifference" toward an inmate's health or safety.
There was "more than enough evidence to support a reasonable jury finding that the overall three-year deprivation of yard time that Johnson was subjected to was the result of unconstitutional deliberate indifference," Jackson wrote.
Johnson's lawyer commended the liberal justices for recognizing the 7th Circuit's "indisputable legal error," but expressed regret that "imposing such cruelty - let alone on a person known to suffer from mental illness - is acceptable to any federal judge."
Reporting by John Kruzel in Washington and Andrew Chung in New York; Editing by Will Dunham
Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.
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After All That Pressure, Supreme Court Adopts Most Pathetic “Code of Ethics” Ever
It doesn’t seem like the court’s new code of ethics will do all that much..
The Supreme Court unveiled a new, incredibly vague “code of ethics” on Monday, following several high profile ethics scandals.
All nine justices signed the 14-page document, which includes five canons of conduct under which the justices should recuse themselves and is based on similar codes used by lower courts.
It requires justices to “uphold the integrity and independence of the judiciary” and “avoid impropriety and the appearance of impropriety in all activities,” according to the code . The code does not mention any enforcement mechanisms, however, and disclosures are completely voluntary.
In a statement attached to the code, the justices highlighted that the court has “long had the equivalent of common law ethics rules,” which they believe added to confusion around the court’s behavior.
“The absence of a Code, however, has led in recent years to the misunderstanding that the Justices of this Court, unlike all other jurists in this country, regard themselves as unrestricted by any ethics rules,” the justices said in a statement. “To dispel this misunderstanding, we are issuing this Code, which largely represents a codification of principles that we have long regarded as governing our conduct.”
Yet the new set of rules fails to outline possible consequences should ethics violations persist.
“This is a long-overdue step by the justices, but a code of ethics is not binding unless there is a mechanism to investigate possible violations and enforce the rules,” said Senator Sheldon Whitehouse , a Rhode Island Democrat, noting that the court’s “honor system” holding justices accountable hasn’t worked in the past.
The court has faced increased scrutiny since several ProPublica investigations revealed that Justice Clarence Thomas had been pocketing favors from Republican real estate developer Harlan Crow, including private school tuition for his nephew, the renovation of the home where his mother still lives, and undisclosed trips on the billionaire’s yacht, private jet, and at his private resort. Two months later, the outlet unveiled a similar scandal with Justice Samuel Alito , who failed to report a luxury fishing vacation to Alaska with hedge fund billionaire Paul Singer in 2008.
Trump’s Idiot Lawyers Just Shared Faulty Evidence in Fraud Trial
Apparently, it can keep getting worse..
Donald Trump’s lawyers shared faulty evidence on Monday during his business fraud trial in New York, accidentally adding further fuel to the allegations against him.
The New York attorney general has accused Trump, his sons Don Jr. and Eric , the Trump Organization, and other company executives of fraudulently inflating the value of various real estate assets to get more favorable terms on bank loans. When Don Jr. took the stand Monday, Trump’s lawyers appeared to demonstrate exactly how the family overrepresented their assets.
Trump’s lawyers displayed a screenshot of a property tax document for 40 Wall Street, now called the Trump Building. The slide described the property as a “72 story landmark building in the Financial District, directly across from the New York Stock Exchange.”
4/ Trump team displays misleading information in the court room, referring to 40 Wall Street as a "72 story" building. It's 63 stories, according to a bond prospectus filed with the SEC and an NYC tax document. More detail here: https://t.co/lIi8glr8R5 pic.twitter.com/aszNNUD1mk — Dan Alexander (@DanAlexander21) November 13, 2023
The Trump Building is only 63 stories , according to filings from New York City and the Securities and Exchange Commission, and is actually around the corner from the Stock Exchange. The Trump Organization’s chief legal officer, Alan Garten, explained to Forbes a month ago that 40 Wall Street has 63 floors of commercial space, but “when you add the space from 63 to the cupola, the building totals 72 floors.”
Trump’s lawyers also showed a slide claiming the Trump International Hotel in Las Vegas is 64 stories. But an architectural drawing shows it likely has fewer levels because the floor numbers jump from eight to 16.
New York Attorney General Letitia James has alleged that Trump lied about the size and value of his many real estate holdings. His lawyers’ evidence, shared to make Trump’s case, actually appears to undermine it.
Trump may want to consider getting new lawyers, as his team seems to continually blow up his defenses in his various legal disputes. In addition to the New York fraud trial, Trump’s lawyers stumbled trying to defend against his federal indictment for attempting to overthrow the 2020 election.
His lawyer Alina Habba, who is also working on the fraud trial, undermined his defense in the other case by admitting that “everybody was made aware that he lost the election,” and his lawyer John Lauro also publicly confessed that Trump asked then–Vice President Mike Pence to delay certifying the nation’s votes (which is illegal).
Trump Team Responds to Hitler Accusations by Proving Accusers Right
Donald trump’s rhetoric is becoming more dictatorial with each passing day..
Donald Trump’s team defended his authoritarian comments over the weekend by doubling down on dictatorial language, a frightening preview of what could happen if Trump wins the presidency.
During a Veterans Day speech on Saturday, Trump called his political opponents and critics “vermin” and accused them of being a bigger threat to the U.S. than countries such as Russia, China, and North Korea. Historians and researchers were quick to warn that his language was reminiscent of authoritarian leaders including Hitler and Mussolini.
Trump campaign spokesman Steven Cheung defended the former president’s comments with some reasonable language of his own.
“Those who try to make that ridiculous assertion are clearly snowflakes grasping for anything because they are suffering from Trump Derangement Syndrome and their entire existence will be crushed when President Trump returns to the White House,” Cheung told The Washington Post on Monday.
Cheung later added that he meant to say their “sad, miserable existence” instead of their “entire existence.”
Cheung’s statement is a chilling example of just how extreme Trump has become. His team isn’t even trying to downplay or explain away his authoritarian tendencies . Instead, his team is leaning into it.
During his speech, Trump promised to “root out the Communists, Marxists, fascists, and the radical left thugs that live like vermin within the confines of our country that lie and steal and cheat on elections.”
“The threat from outside forces is far less sinister, dangerous, and grave than the threat from within. Our threat is from within,” he said.
Ruth Ben-Ghiat, a historian at New York University, warned that Trump is following in Hitler and Mussolini’s footsteps.
“Calling people ‘vermin’ was used effectively by Hitler and Mussolini to dehumanize people and encourage their followers to engage in violence,” she explained to The Washington Post .
Brian Klaas, a political scientist, told MSNBC on Monday that Trump is “lifting not just rhetoric but actual plans from the authoritarian playbook.”
“ I study the breakdown of democracy, and I don’t know how to say this more clearly: We are sleepwalking towards authoritarianism,” he said.
Because of Course He Is: QAnon Shaman Now Running for Congress
Jacob chansley, known as the “qanon shaman” during the january 6 insurrection, has filed paperwork to run for office..
The spear-wielding conspiracy theorist convicted for attempting to overturn the 2020 presidential election results on January 6, 2021, has decided it’s his time to run for the very government he attempted to overthrow.
Jacob Chansley, a 35-year-old convicted felon better known as the Qanon Shaman, filed a candidate statement of interest Thursday in the Arizona race to fill Representative Debbie Lesko’s seat, apparently hoping to return to the scene of the crime. Chansley plans to run for Congress as a Libertarian, reported the Associated Press , and has officially filed his paperwork.
Lesko, a Republican, announced in October that she won’t be seeking reelection after her term ends in 2025.
In late 2021, a federal judge sentenced Chansley to 41 months in prison for his role in the January 6 insurrection. Prosecutors described him as the “public face of the Capitol riot,” who used his platform on social media to spread “false information and hateful rhetoric” in the days immediately preceding the assault.
Once at the Capitol Building, Chansley was one of the first group of rioters to break inside. Wielding a bullhorn, he worked to “rile up the crowd and demand that lawmakers be brought out,” according to a sentencing memo .
Inside the Senate gallery, Chansley climbed the dais, photographing himself and leaving a note that read: “It’s Only a Matter of Time. Justice Is Coming!”
RNC Chair Ronna McDaniel Is in Fantasy Land on Abortion
The head of the republican national committee is straight up delulu..
Republican National Committee Chair Ronna McDaniel appears to be living in an alternate reality, insisting that Republicans can actually win elections on their abortion message.
Republicans suffered bruising losses last week in Ohio and Virginia, as state residents voted overwhelmingly for measures and candidates that will protect abortion access. But on Sunday, McDaniel claimed Americans actually want abortion restrictions.
“ I’m proud to be a pro-life party, but we can win on this message,” she told NBC. “ The American people are where we are, and they want commonsense limitations. They want more access to adoption. We want to make sure that there’s pregnancy crisis centers. These are things we can win on.”
McDaniel says Republicans can win on abortion because the American people are were they are pic.twitter.com/M4oYT4IFu5 — Acyn (@Acyn) November 12, 2023
McDaniel also said that Republicans can’t avoid the issue of abortion anymore. “I think there’s a lot of discussion to be had, but we can’t just say it’s a states’ issue and be done,” she said.
The RNC chair is onto something there, but it’s entirely the wrong thing. The American people are not at all where Republicans are: More than 60 percent of Americans believe that abortion should be legal in all or most cases, according to the Pew Research Center .
And if that data weren’t enough, in every election since Roe v. Wade was overturned, Americans have voted to increase abortion rights. This is true even in otherwise red states such as Ohio, Kentucky, and Montana.
Candidates who campaign heavily on protecting abortion have pulled off amazing feats: Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer was overwhelmingly reelected in November 2022, while her Democratic Party flipped the state legislature for the first time in 40 years. In neighboring Wisconsin, pro-abortion state Supreme Court Justice Janet Protasiewicz won her April 2023 election handily.
McDaniel has sought to soften her party’s overall stance on abortion. She urged the GOP in January to “go on offense” against abortion rights and pass new restrictions, including six-week bans. But a few months later, McDaniel began telling candidates to back a 15-week ban instead, a move that’s still incredibly unpopular.
Republicans don’t win on their abortion messaging. So instead, they lose and try to subvert democracy to get their way anyway.
Trump Allies Are Creating an Army of Loyalists to Implement His Every Whim
Donald trump’s allies have a dangerous plan to make sure he can do whatever he wants as president..
Donald Trump’s allies are already working overtime to create an army of tens of thousands of Trump loyalists who they can install at every level of government should he win the presidential election.
The consolidated effort attempts to block Republican moderates from weighing in on Trump’s decisions in a potential second presidency like they did in the early days of his first, allowing an echo chamber of the most extreme voices in U.S. politics.
Allies are looking to install as many as 54,000 pre-vetted Trump loyalists in the executive branch while purging anyone who dissents from the new administration, reported Axios .
The massive political project, orchestrated by the Heritage Foundation under the banner Project 2025, has already collected more than 4,000 résumés, though the process is more focused on political philosophy than experience or other credentials, the outlet reported.
“Never before has the entire movement ... banded together to construct a comprehensive plan to deconstruct the out-of-touch and weaponized administrative state,” Project 2025’s director, Paul Dans, told Axios.
Trump will use this army to implement his every whim. That includes using the Justice Department to target his political enemies and unleashing a new set of extreme anti-immigration policies, like setting up deportation camp s for undocumented immigrants.
Also behind the effort are Stephen Miller and John McEntee, both of whom advised Trump during his last presidency and are expected to play key roles should Trump reclaim the Oval Office. McEntee, in particular, has prior experience rooting out obstructive staffers—in 2020, he was appointed to sniff out those working against Trump’s agenda , as Trump’s personnel chief.
Earlier this month, Trump allies made it clear they were cutting ties with the Federalist Society , which staffed most of the hard-line, conservative legal advisers during his first term. Trump allegedly wasn’t satisfied with their brand of politics, however, and was left frustrated by their objections to harsher immigration policies and Trump’s bid for a tighter grip on the Justice Department, reported The New York Times .
Here’s Another Big Far-Right Thing Mike Johnson Never Reported
The new house speaker has a sketchy history when it comes to reporting expenses..
When House Speaker Mike Johnson gave the keynote speech at an elite right-wing conference in 2019, he failed to report the trip on his financial disclosure forms. Four years later, it’s still not clear who paid for him to get there or how much the trip cost, according to a Daily Beast report published Monday.
Johnson delivered his 31-minute speech to the Council for National Policy’s conference in person, traveling from Washington, D.C., to New Orleans for the October 4, 2019, event. The Southern Poverty Law Center describes the CNP as “ a shadowy and intensely secretive group [that] has operated behind the scenes … to build the conservative movement.”
It’s not unusual for lawmakers to speak at the CNP conference , which occurs three times a year. Representative Jody Hice spoke to the group in February 2019, while Representatives Mark Green and Chip Roy spoke to CNP in 2019 and 2022, respectively. The difference, though, is that all three men reported their trips as gifted travel. They also list the trip on their personal financial disclosure forms. Johnson did not file anything, The Daily Beast found.
“The most reasonable inference is that the very well-heeled CNP covered Johnson’s expenses when he addressed the group’s meeting in 2019, but the new speaker failed to report those gifts,” Brendan Fischer, the deputy executive director of the watchdog group Documented and a legal expert on campaign finance and ethics rules, told The Daily Beast.
“What [would make] it an ethics violation is if the payments aren’t reported.”
Hice, Green, and Roy reported gifted expenses ranging from more than $1,400 to more than $2,600 for travel, lodging, and the event registration fee. Johnson’s financial disclosure forms, already incredibly barren, do not show any trips funded by the CNP .
It’s possible that Johnson paid out of pocket for the trip. But again, given the spare nature of his reported financial situation, that seems highly unlikely (unless he has mounds of cash squirreled away under his mattress).
Johnson could have used campaign or PAC funds to travel, but his campaign and leadership PAC expenses don’t reflect costs that match the CNP event. Another explanation would be that Johnson used taxpayer money for the trip. The House statement of disbursements at the time shows his office reported commercial travel and lodging expenses that match the October 4 trip.
It’s unclear why Johnson would feel the need to pay for his trip at all, though. The CNP is well funded and clearly has no issue paying for his colleagues to speak. What’s more, Johnson has been a member of the CNP since at least July 2012. It’s strange that the organization would reward his loyalty by making him foot the bill.
The New Republic reached out to Johnson’s office for comment, but they had not responded by time of publication.
Johnson is no stranger to speaking at far-right events. He was scheduled to give the keynote address Friday for the Worldwide Freedom Initiative. Johnson spokesman Raj Shah assured TNR that Johnson did not travel for any events over the weekend, but he refused to explicitly confirm whether Johnson had spoken virtually or why the speaker was featured so prominently on WFI social media and event publicity if he did not speak.
State Department: Biden Spreading Misinformation Amid Israel’s War on Gaza
The internal state department memo urges joe biden to reassess his policy toward israel..
An internal memo floating around the U.S. State Department is urging senior officials to rethink their approach to the Israel-Hamas war, criticizing America’s unwavering support of Israel’s counteroffensive as backing “crimes against humanity.”
The five-page memo, signed by 100 State Department and USAID employees, also accuses President Joe Biden of “spreading misinformation” in his October 10 speech, in which Biden described Hamas’s October 7 massacre as an “act of sheer evil” and likened it to the “worst rampages of ISIS” while unequivocally aligning U.S. military capabilities with Israel.
“Members of the White House and (the National Security Council) displayed a clear disregard for the lives of Palestinians, a documented unwillingness to de-escalate, and, even prior to October 7, a reckless lack of strategic foresight,” the memo said, reported Axios .
The bulk of the memo focuses on condemning Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s assault on Gaza, which has constituted attacking hospitals , cutting off access to water and electricity, limiting humanitarian aid, and displacing 1.6 million Palestinians.
All of these actions, according to the memo, “constitute war crimes and/or crimes against humanity under international law.”
“Yet we have failed to reassess our posture towards Israel,” the memo reads, according to the outlet. “We doubled down on our unwavering military assistance to the (Israeli government) without clear or actionable redlines.”
It’s not the first such memo to be leaked out of the State Department. Last week, another memo blasted the U.S. response to Israel as inappropriate, arguing that supporting the Middle Eastern state’s “settler violence” went “against American values,” reported Politico .
Will Marsha Blackburn Be Censured for This Racist Tweet on Rashida Tlaib?
Senator marsha blackburn is smearing the only palestinian american member of congress..
Senator Marsha Blackburn shared a racist tweet about Representative Rashida Tlaib over the weekend. Recent evidence shows she likely won’t face any consequences for it.
Tlaib, the only Palestinian American in Congress, has understandably been vocal in her support for Palestine and for a cease-fire since the war in Gaza began. The House censured her last week for her words, with 22 of her fellow Democrats joining Republicans in reprimanding her.
But Blackburn has gone a step further and accused Tlaib, with no evidence, of being linked to Hamas .
“ Rashida Tlaib has alleged ties to Hamas,” the Tennessee Republican tweeted Sunday. “Based on these allegations, it’s sadly not surprising she’s calling for a genocide against the Jewish people.”
Blackburn is referring to Tlaib’s use of the phrase “from the river to the sea.” While many Jewish and pro-Israel groups say the saying is antisemitic, it has also been used by Israeli politicians. Tlaib defended her use of the phrase, saying it was a call for “ freedom, human rights, and peaceful coexistence.” Before she was censured, Tlaib called out the rise of both antisemitism and Islamophobia.
But while Tlaib has been censured for calling for peace, there is no outcry on Capitol Hill yet over Blackburn accusing her colleague of links to an extremist group. And there may never be one.
Republicans have repeatedly said outrageous things about Palestine, primarily calling for the extermination of an entire country and people. They make no distinction between Hamas and Palestinian civilians, and yet no one is getting in trouble for it.
What’s more, House Speaker Mike Johnson has a Christian nationalist flag flying outside his district office. The creation of a Christian nation implies the elimination of all other religions, and yet no one is accusing Johnson of calling for genocide.
The closest another lawmaker got to facing consequences was when Representative Brian Mast compared Palestinian civilians to Nazis. A Democratic representative drafted a resolution to censure the Florida Republican, but it has since been dropped .
More than 11,000 Palestinian civilians, mostly women and children, have been killed in Israel’s ongoing retaliation to Hamas’s October 7 attack. The fighting has also killed at least 39 journalists and other media workers and more than 100 United Nations employees.
Having Lost Abortion Vote, Ohio GOP Now Plans to Sabotage Results
Ohio republicans do not care about the election results. sound familiar.
Ohio state Republican lawmakers are once again trying to overturn the will of the people, after a devastating loss on abortion rights.
Ohioans overwhelmingly chose to enshrine abortion protections in the state Constitution earlier this week. Republicans had tried multiple times to block the referendum, called Issue 1, but they were handily defeated every time.
So on Friday, the state GOP unveiled a new tactic: stopping the courts from allowing the new amendment to take effect.
“To prevent mischief by pro-abortion courts with Issue 1, Ohio legislators will consider removing jurisdiction from the judiciary over this ambiguous ballot initiative,” Republican state representatives said in a press release . “The Ohio legislature alone will consider what, if any, modifications to make to existing laws based on public hearings and input from legal experts on both sides.”
The new amendment doesn’t take effect until December 7, and even then, it isn’t automatically implemented. Each individual abortion restriction needs to be repealed by a court. And Ohio has a lot of restrictions.
Abortion is legal up to 22 weeks, but certain abortion procedures are banned. Patients must wait 24 hours and undergo anti-abortion biased counseling before they can undergo the procedure. State-based insurance is prohibited from covering abortion services, and minors must have the consent of a parent, guardian, or judge in order to get an abortion.
As abortion reporter Jessica Valenti explained, Ohio Republicans don’t want the courts to repeal all of these restrictions. They want the GOP-controlled state legislature to decide whether to repeal the restrictions.
In the press release, lawmakers also blamed “foreign billionaires” for interfering in the election and tipping it in favor of abortion rights. In reality, right-wing billionaires and organizations donated millions of dollars from out of state (although still domestically) to try to block Issue 1.
This isn’t the first time Ohio Republicans have blatantly ignored—and actively worked against—what the people want. In August, they tried to raise the threshold for constitutional amendments to a 60 percent vote instead of a simple majority.
When that failed , the Ohio Ballot Board voted 3–2, along party lines, to change the text of the amendment on the ballot to a Republican-authored summary littered with inflammatory and fearmongering language .
Republicans have repeatedly refused to accept the results of elections on abortion, in a massive threat to local democracy. In Kansas , despite residents voting overwhelmingly in August 2022 to keep abortion rights in the state Constitution, the state legislature is still trying to pass laws that would restrict abortion access. And in Wisconsin, after voters elected a state Supreme Court judge in large part because of her outspoken support for abortion access, state Republicans tried to impeach her.
Haley walks back declaration that all social media users must be verified
After facing considerable blowback, Republican presidential candidate Nikki Haley is walking back her declaration that all people should be required to verify their identities to use social media platforms, after previously calling anonymous accounts a “national security threat.”
Haley, a former U.N. ambassador and former governor of South Carolina, said last week that, if she is elected president, social media companies would be required to authenticate people’s identity before allowing them to comment.
“We’re going to say that they have to make sure every person on social media is verified … everybody gets a verifiable sign so that we know exactly who they are,” Haley said in a telephone town hall with Iowa caucus-goers Friday. “What that will do is it will eliminate every Russian bot, Iranian bot and Chinese bot that’s spreading all of this misinformation, because … it is the cheapest form of warfare for them.”
Haley, who later said similar things on Fox News , also claimed that eliminating anonymity would lead to more-civil discourse online among social media users.
“They’re going to start to be more accountable because they know their family and their pastor is going to see it, and it’s going to be more civilized,” she said.
On Wednesday, Haley dialed back her remarks, telling CNBC she thinks that “life would be more civil” if people were prohibited from posting anonymously but that anonymous accounts would still be allowed for American citizens.
“I don’t mind anonymous American people having free speech,” Haley told the network. “What I don’t like is anonymous Russians and Chinese and Iranians having free speech.”
A representative for Haley’s campaign reiterated Wednesday that Americans have a right to free speech.
“What Nikki doesn’t support is letting the Chinese and Iranians create anonymous accounts to spread chaos and anti-American filth among our people,” the representative said. “They’re doing that as we speak and it’s a national security threat. Social media companies have to do a way better job policing that. Clearly, Ron DeSantis wants to let Chinese propaganda machines run wild on social media without any restrictions.”
Nikki Haley campaign announces $10 million ad buy in Iowa, New Hampshire
Haley faced immediate criticism over the proposal from her Republican primary opponents. Entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy , who has clashed with Haley throughout the primary over tech issues, noted that several of the Founding Fathers had written the Federalist Papers under a pseudonym. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) also cited the Federalist Papers and blasted Haley’s idea as “dangerous and unconstitutional.”
“It will be dead on arrival in my administration,” DeSantis wrote on X, formerly Twitter. On Wednesday, DeSantis told conservative political commentator Glenn Beck that he thought Haley’s plan would pave the way for a “social credit system” akin to one in China.
“Forcing disclosure of names and registration, that’s what China has done. China did that recently,” DeSantis said. “That is totally inappropriate for the United States of America.”
That stance by Haley put her at odds with former president Donald Trump and other leading figures in the Republican Party who have for years shown no problem promoting comments from anonymous social media accounts — nor been averse to using divisive and inflammatory comments under their own names. It also came as Haley has risen in recent polls and threatened to overtake DeSantis as the leading alternative Republican candidate to Trump, particularly after former vice president Mike Pence and Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.) suspended their campaigns.
Haley calls Ramaswamy ‘scum’ after he brings up her daughter in GOP debate
The proposal that all social media users be verified is not new — and was even put forth by Trump in 2013, according to a tweet that a DeSantis surrogate resurfaced after Haley’s remarks.
“It should be mandatory that all haters and losers use their real name or identification when tweeting — they will no longer be so brave!” Trump wrote then, before he formally entered politics.
A representative for Trump’s reelection campaign did not respond to a request for comment Wednesday or questions about whether Trump still believes that. In the decade since that was posted, of course, Trump was elected president, was banned from the site formerly known as Twitter and has started his own social media platform, Truth Social , which bills itself as “America’s ‘Big Tent’ [that] encourages an open, free, and honest global conversation.”
Haley’s remarks in the telephone town hall last week were first prompted by a woman who expressed concern about what she called “horrendous misinformation” about Ukraine that Ramaswamy spread at the last GOP debate.
“But if you look at what Ramaswamy is saying, and what a lot of Americans are saying, where are they getting this misinformation from? They’re getting it from social media,” Haley responded then, calling for a ban on TikTok.
Haley blamed Russia, Iran, China and North Korea for a flood of misinformation. She declared that, as president, one of the first things she would do is demand social media companies “make all of their algorithms transparent.” She then said she would prohibit anonymous accounts as a way of cracking down on misinformation.
Mary Anne Franks, a professor at George Washington University Law School, said that the U.S. government trying to restrict anonymous speech would be unconstitutional but that private companies have the right to establish terms of service for their products and could ban anonymous speech.
“If Haley is suggesting that the government can or should require verification of social media users, that would be at odds with long-standing and robust First Amendment protections for anonymous speech,” said Franks, who studies intellectual property, technology and civil rights law. “That constitutional protection applies only to government actors, however, so if Haley is instead suggesting that social media platforms themselves could or should require their users to be identifiable, this would not violate the First Amendment — though it would have implications for free speech more generally.”
Cracking down on anonymity also could harm vulnerable individuals, including whistleblowers, political dissidents and victims of domestic violence, said David Greene, director of civil liberties at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a nonprofit that advocates digital privacy and free speech.
“For these individuals and the organizations that support them, secure anonymity is critical. It may literally save lives,” Greene said. “Anonymous communications have an important place in our political and social discourse.”
The Supreme Court has ruled repeatedly that the right to anonymous free speech, including online speech, is protected by the First Amendment, even if it results in misinformation. In September, judges on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit ruled that Biden administration officials probably violated the First Amendment by encouraging tech companies to remove or suppress misinformation about the coronavirus pandemic and about the 2020 election results.
Courtney Radsch, director of the Center for Journalism and Liberty at the Open Markets Institute, a political economy think tank that advocates press freedom, warned that Haley’s proposal would only encourage giant tech companies to collect more data about their users.
“We want them to collect even more data and personally identifiable data on Americans? That doesn’t make any sense,” Radsch said.
On top of that, Radsch said, getting rid of anonymity for individual users would do little to solve other pressing issues posed by social media platforms with loosely enforced standards for disinformation and online harassment.
“Online harassment is not going to be solved by this,” Radsch said. “People are perfectly willing to be terrible to each other using their real names.”
2024 presidential candidates
Catch up on the winners and losers and takeaways from the third Republican primary debate . Compare where the 2024 presidential candidates stand on key issues like abortion, climate and the economy.
Republicans: Top contenders for the GOP 2024 nomination include former president Donald Trump , Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and former Trump U.N. ambassador Nikki Haley . Here is The Post’s ranking of the top 10 Republican presidential candidates for 2024 .
Democrats: President Biden is running for reelection in 2024 . Here is The Post’s ranking of the top 10 Democratic presidential candidates for 2024 .
- Comparing where 2024 presidential candidates stand on key issues November 8, 2023 Comparing where 2024 presidential candidates stand on key issues November 8, 2023
- The winners and losers of the third Republican debate November 9, 2023 The winners and losers of the third Republican debate November 9, 2023
- The most memorable lines from the third Republican presidential debate November 9, 2023 The most memorable lines from the third Republican presidential debate November 9, 2023
Traditionally, the WTO’s procedures favor core nations True or False?
📚 Related Questions
Which of the following lists ranks the type of country in order of influence from most powerful to least powerful? A. semi-periphery, external, core, periphery B. external, semi-periphery, core, periphery C. core, periphery, external, semi-periphery D. core, semi-periphery, periphery, external
no i get it i looked it up to answer this question
the guy above me said so
- Elena wants to open a Chinese restaurant near a university. She has the required capital to start her restaurant. However, she is unable to find good chefs for her restaurant. Which type of resource is Elena lacking?
a HUMAN resource is what Elena is missing
James Watt contributed to society by ________.
creating an effective steam engine
Which of the following resulted from the Palmer Raids of 1919 and 1920?
B) the formation of the American Civil Liberties Union
Details : Which of the following resulted from the Palmer Raids of 1919 and
What elements are found in all three stories? Check all that apply. A fire comes from the sky. A man is instructed to build a large boat. A man protects the Earth's animals. A rainbow appears after the flood is over. A dove is released after the rain ends.
A man is instructed to build a large boat. &
A man protects the Earth's animals.
just trust meee
Help HELP will mark brainliest worth 40 points please answer correctly not just to get the points Which of the following lists correctly reflects the bodies of water that are part of the South China Sea? A. the Persian Gulf, the Tonkin Gulf, and Manila Bay B. the Tonkin Gulf, the Gulf of Thailand, and Manila Bay C. the Sea of Japan, the East China Sea, and Manila Bay D. the Persian Gulf, the Gulf of Thailand, and Manila Bay
If an attacked town surrendered to the Mongols,
When the War of Austrian Succession spilled over into the British colonies in North America, what was the conflict largely about?
Details : When the War of Austrian Succession spilled over into the British
During the 1920s, which president adopted a laissez-faire toward business, which helped bring about the Great Depression? (A) Woodrow Wilson (B) Warren Harding (C) Calvin Coolidge (D) Herbert Hoover
The correct answer is C.
During the decade of the 20s, the so-called Roaring 20s, laissez-faire economic philosophy predomined in the US, which consist on a minimum govermental intervention in the economy. Under such deregulation conditions business could operate freely without supervision.
Both Republican presidents, Harding and Coolidge, implemented laissez-faire principles in the economy, but the first still did not apply them to businesses as he believed those needed governmental assistance, especially due to the existence of labor organizations. Therefore, it was Calvin Coolidge the one who applied laissez-faire policies to businesses.
To what extent did the ideas of the enlightenment influence the politics of the 18th century europe?
I believe the answer is: It created different branches of government. This helped with the idea of one ruler not having all the power
The ideas of enlightenment see that people should have the most power in society, not the government officials. Creating branches of government would limit the government's power in society and give more opportunity for the people to influence the outcome in the government.
PLEASE HELP QUICK. Supreme Court Justices are responsible for: A. ruling on new cases brought by circuit court judges B. interpreting the constitutionality of laws passed by Congress C. deciding whether the President should be impeached D. reviewing amendments to determine their constitutionality
Why has Israel promoted the growth of its service industries? A. to support its growing population B. to promote settlement in desert regions C. to help develop its agricultural productivity D. to take advantage of scarce natural resources
Details : Why has Israel promoted the growth of its service industries?A. to
Which of the following buffalo parts was not used by the Plains Indians for food?
Why did the United States not complain about the construction of the Berlin Wall in 1961? a. The wall blocked many unwanted trade routes between East and West Germany. b. The wall protected West Berlin from any attempts of the Soviet Union to conquer it. c. The wall was a symbol of the divide between the Communist Bloc and the West. d. The wall was a way of starting peace negotiations between the Cold War rivals.
The correct answer is B. The United States did not complain about the construction of the Berlin Wall in 1961 because it protected West Berlin from any attempts of the Soviet Union to conquer it.
The American reaction to the construction of the wall was slow: 20 hours passed until the appearance of the military forces on the border; 40 hours until they communicated with the Soviet commander of Berlin; and 72 hours until they protested at Moscow's diplomacy. There were more and more rumors that the Soviets had assured the Western allies that they would not threaten their rights. The experience of the blockade had shown the allies that West Berlin was threatened, so the construction of the wall was a material confirmation of the status quo, that is, the recognition of Western domination of that part of the city. The Soviet Union abandoned its request that West Berlin be "free" of allied troops, which it had formulated in the Khrushchev ultimatum of 1958. In this way, the United States ensured that the Soviet Union would not attack West Berlin.
Why did Filipino American and Hispanic American grape pickers work together to organize a strike for better pay and working conditions? A. Working together allowed the two groups to share techniques to improve the efficiency of the grape-picking process. B. Working together created a powerful symbol of unity that inspired farmers to treat both groups with more respect. C. Working together prevented farmers from using the two groups of workers against each other. D. Working together gave the workers more financial resources to support themselves during a strike
The Filipino & Hispanic American grape pickers work together to organize a strike in order to prevent farmers from using the two groups of workers against each other.
What is the cause of the strike?
The farm workers decided to strike against grape growers in California to protest about years of poor pay and working conditions .
Hence, the grape pickers work together to prevent farmers from using the two groups of workers against each other.
Therefore, the Option C is correct.
Read more about grape pickers
the south developed ironclad technology to: A.weaken the northern blockade B.bombard the northern capital C.supply troops in the west D.all of above
weaken the northern blockade
Details : the south developed ironclad technology to:A.weaken the northern
The Federalist Papers served the purpose of: a. supporting the ratification of the constitution by the state of Virginia c. opposing the ratification of the constitution by the state of Virginia b. supporting the ratification of the constitution by the state of New York d. opposing the ratification of the constitution by the state of New York
b. supporting the ratification of the constitution by the state of New York.
This was the main purpose that The Federalist Papers served. The Federalist Papers were a series of essays that supported the ratification of the constitution by the state of New York. These essays examined various areas of the Constitution, and encouraged people to understand it fully. They also discussed why the Constitution was an improvement on the current system.
Who was Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn? a poet in Soviet Ukraine b Russian writer imprisoned by Stalin who lived to write about it c Russian writer who escaped the gulag and the USSR d communist sympathizer who wrote about Stalin
Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn was a Russian writer imprisoned by Stalin who lived to write about it. Option B is correct.
Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn was born on December 11, 1918, in Kislovodsk, Russia. He fought in World War II, but was arrested for criticizing Joseph Stalin and spent 11 years in labor camps and exile. In his books, such as The Gulag Archipelago,Aleksandr relates his experiences.
He was a Russian novelist, historian, and short story writer. He was an outspoken critic of the Soviet Union and communism and helped raise awareness globally of its Gulag forced labor camp system.
Which of the following situations exhibits a reasonable limit placed on the First Amendment in the interest of the common good?
What impact did leaders such as Hector P. Garcia, Thurgood Marshall, and Martin Luther King have on the nation?
Details : What impact did leaders such as Hector P. Garcia, Thurgood Marshall,
Originally, the term Aryan referred to a people group that replaced the Indus Valley civilization. true or false
The answer is true.
WILL GIVE BRAINLIEST ANSWER AND THANK YOU!!! In some countries, every young person must serve two years in some form of military service. The United States Congress has, from time to time, considered a similar policy for our country. Write an paragraph stating your position on this issue and supporting it with convincing reasons. Be sure to explain your reasons in detail.
How did globalization, inflation, and an oil embargo lead to a recession in the 1970s?
Which area did the Islamic Empire add by 750 A.D. (CE) that it did not have control of in 661 A.D. (CE)?
so is the answer egypt or mecca
Details : Which area did the Islamic Empire add by 750 A.D. (CE) that it did
The French helped the Patriot war effort by A. keeping Spain out of the war. B. attacking the main island of Britain to distract British forces. C. providing a navy and military support. D. going to war against hostile Native American groups.
In the 1925 case Gitlow v. New York, the Supreme Court ruled that
rights guaranteed by the Bill of Rights must also be guaranteed by the states
Which colonial region did not rely on cash crops for export? New England Colonies Southern Colonies Middle Colonies
What are colonial regions?
Close the 1700 , the American dominions flourished into trio definite domains . the New England , Middle and Southern regions each had different geographical and artistic characteristics that determined the development of their frugality , society , and relationships to each other.
Why were the New England colonies unfit to grow cash crops?
The New England colonies had veritably harsh lay offs and mild summers . because the soil was rocky and climate was frequently harsh , pioneers in New England only tended enough to feed their families.
Then you can grasp forward about colonizer regions too-
How did President Nixon interact with China and the USSR? With details
Details : How did President Nixon interact with China and the USSR? With details
Jews traveled to ____, where they were welcomed, because of persecution. a) Eastern Europe b) Southern Europe c) Western Europe d) Mesoamerica please somebody who knows the defiant answer
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Justice Barrett, speaking at Federalist Society gala, says justices are ‘collegial’
Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett said the high court justices are civil to one another and leave their heated disagreements to the cases and written opinions.
At the Federalist Society gala on Thursday, Justice Barrett noted the justices have lunch together after oral arguments and on conference days, saying it helps build their relationships.
”It’s very collegial. We work very well together,” she said, Politico reported. “The heat stays on the page.”
Justice Barrett, who joined the court in 2020, was the guest speaker at the annual dinner in Washington.
Three other GOP-appointed justices also attended the event: Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr., Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh and Justice Neil M. Gorsuch.
The court ‘s other GOP appointees, Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. and Justice Clarence Thomas, were not present. Neither were the court ‘s three liberal jurists: Justice Elena Kagan, Justice Sonia Sotomayor and Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson.
The justice’s appearances at the conservative legal gathering come as Democrats on Capitol Hill have promised to subpoena Federalist Society co-chairman Leonard Leo, a judicial advocate and adviser to former President Donald Trump.
Democrats had readied a vote for the subpoena in the Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday morning but backed down, saying they ran out of time at a roughly 20-minute meeting. They say Mr. Leo should detail information about gifts that the justices may have received to help lawmakers impose an ethics standard on the bench.
Harlan Crow, a GOP megadonor and friend of Justice Thomas, is also set to be subpoenaed, Democrats say.
The committee’s inquiry, led by committee Chairman Sen. Dick Durbin, Illinois Democrat, follows a series of news reports about Justice Thomas and his friendship with Mr. Crow. Some reports have also targeted Justice Alito over a fishing trip he took.
ProPublica reported that Mr. Crow paid private school tuition at Hidden Lake Academy and Randolph-Macon Academy for Justice Thomas’ great-nephew, whom the justice took in to raise at the age of 6.
According to ProPublica, the tuition total could have cost more than $150,000. Justice Thomas did not disclose the payments in his financial disclosure forms, which would run afoul of the ethics standards for federal judges, though justices have not been held to that standard.
Scrutiny of the justices has continued in recent months.
The same news outlet reported in April that Justice Thomas did not disclose that he took luxury vacations with Mr. Crow or that Mr. Crow purchased the home of Justice Thomas’ mother, even though she continued to reside there.
The New York Times reported that Justice Thomas and other Republican appointees collected salaries to teach courses at George Mason University’s Antonin Scalia School of Law.
Justice Thomas said he consulted with colleagues about disclosure requirements for the gifts from his friend Mr. Crow.
The high court doesn’t have a mandatory code of ethics, even though lower court judges are expected to avoid impropriety or do business with anyone who may come before the bench.
Chief Justice Roberts has said the high court has generally followed the Judicial Conferences’ Code of Ethics which is binding on lower courts — but not the Supreme Court — since 1991.
In July, Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee advanced a bill requiring the high court to impose a code of ethics on itself. The legislation has not received a vote on the Senate floor, where it likely won’t get the 60 votes needed to survive.
• Alex Swoyer can be reached at [email protected] .
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