The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Sarah Harris,

National Advocacy Groups Deliver Over 400K Signatures to Senate Leadership, Urging Action on Supreme Court Corruption

Today, national advocacy organizations representing millions of concerned citizens called on Senate leadership to investigate allegations of corruption against Supreme Court Justices Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito and bring the Supreme Court Ethics, Recusal, & Transparency (SCERT) Act up for a floor vote by the full Senate. After holding a press conference on the steps of the Supreme Court, representatives from Stand Up America, Indivisible, Center for Popular Democracy, League of Conservation Voters, People Power United, and other advocacy organizations delivered over 400,000 signatures to the offices of Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Judiciary Chair Dick Durbin urging Senate leaders to act swiftly to address corruption on the Court.

Since April, ProPublica has uncovered a pattern of ethics violations by Justices Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito, who repeatedly accepted and failed to report lavish gifts and travel from billionaires and ultra-conservative activists. These damning revelations have squarely placed the legitimacy of the Supreme Court into question and led to record low approval ratings. Yet, the Senate has been slow to respond to the judicial crisis.

“Each scandal is brushed aside because the justices know that there will be no consequences, but today we are saying: enough is enough. We cannot afford to sit back and hope this issue resolves itself. We need urgent action to meet this moment. It’s time for Senate leaders to step in and do something. If the Court cannot act in an ethical manner and put the will of the people over their wealthy benefactors, then Congress must act now,” said Christina Harvey, Executive Director of Stand Up America.

“Over 90,000 MoveOn members are calling for an ethics investigation into Supreme Court Justices Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito because the corruption in the right-wing packed Supreme Court has gone on for far too long. It’s time for serious strides towards accountability to restore trust, integrity, and balance in the court,” said Alexis Martinez, Campaign Manager at MoveOn.

“Between their lawless rulings and their mockery of basic judicial ethics, the right-wing justices have made clear they think they’re untouchable. The first reports about a billionaire megadonor bankrolling twenty years of lavish vacations for Justice Thomas came out months ago. So why are we still waiting for Congress to investigate the corruption rotting this court to its core? The right-wing justices have proven that they aren’t going to hold themselves accountable for their ethical misconduct — and Harlan Crow sure as hell isn’t, either. So it’s time for Senate Democrats to step up, send subpoenas, hold hearings, and get the American people the answers we deserve,” said Sarah Lipton-Lubet, president of Take Back the Court Action Fund.

“Corrupt actions by Supreme Court justices erode the court’s integrity and the public’s trust. The Senate has the power to rein in corruption in this co-equal branch of government. They must use it to protect our freedoms and democracy,” said Monique Teal, Senior Campaign Director at Daily Kos.

“People Power United urges Congressional leaders to restore confidence in the Supreme Court by passing the Supreme Court Ethics, Recusal, and Transparency (SCERT) Act and begin ethics investigations of the Supreme Court. The American public should have access to a Supreme Court that is untainted by corruption, and in light of the disconcerting corruption cases, the Justices should be held to account. There is no power like that of the people, and People Power United stands ready to protect our communities against any and all injustices,”said Laurie Woodward García, Founder of People Power United.

“While we appreciate the steps Senate Democrats have taken to address the ethical disasters currently destroying the Supreme Court’s integrity and reputation, it is clear that more must be done,” said Meagan Hatcher-Mays, Indivisible’s Director of Democracy Policy. “The conservative justices at the center of this almost comical corruption are now openly mocking Congress’s authority to rein them in, and they and their network of billionaire benefactors have been emboldened due to a lack of real consequences. Congress has both the authority and a constitutional duty to reform the Court when the justices throw the institution this far off the rails. That starts with subpoenas. Indivisibles across the country urge Majority Leader Schumer and Senator Durbin to take swift and bold action by issuing subpoenas to address this crisis of democracy before it’s too late.”

“The many recent revelations of outrageous ethics scandals by extremist Supreme Court Justices like Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito are as urgent to address as they are shocking,” said Doug Lindner, Senior Director of Judiciary & Democracy at the League of Conservation Voters. “Our environmental laws need judges who work for the people, not for the billionaires who pay for their vacations and massive secret gifts. The Senate must use all the tools at its disposal to investigate this corruption and rein it in by passing the Supreme Court Ethics, Recusal, and Transparency Act.”

“We are honored to join our allies at Stand Up America and so many wonderful organizations that are dedicated to cleaning up our courts. It is time for the Supreme Court Ethics Recusal and Transparency Act to come to a vote. And the Senate Judiciary Committee must start to have hearings and give the American people an accounting of the endless ethical breaches from the Supreme Court,” said Mark Dann, Director of Governmental Affairs at Freedom From Religion Foundation Action Fund.

“The Supreme Court should be the gold standard for judicial ethics, not the poster child for corruption and self-dealing,” said Tiffany Muller, president of End Citizens United // Let America Vote Action Fund. “Justices making a mockery of ethics rules doesn’t just denigrate the integrity of the Supreme Court, it undermines our democracy. The time to act has long passed — and it’s clear the Supreme Court and their holier than thou attitude is unable to police themselves. Now Congress must act.”

“If they had any shame or conscience, Justices Thomas and Alito would hang up their robes and resign. But they don’t,” said Analilia Mejia, Co-Executive Director of Center for Popular Democracy. “It’s in the Senate’s hands and it must act now. Our Senators must investigate Justices Thomas and Alito, remove them from their seats, hold hearings, and pass a code of ethics for Supreme Court justices.”

In addition to Stand Up America, American Humanist Association, Center for Popular Democracy, Daily Kos, Demand Justice, Freedom From Religion Foundation, Indivisible, League of Conservation Voters, MoveOn, Newtown Action Alliance, People Power United, and Take Back The Court Action Fund also helped collect signatures for the petition and participated in the event.

Stand Up America is a progressive advocacy organization with over two million community members across the country. Focused on grassroots advocacy to strengthen our democracy and oppose Trump's corrupt agenda, Stand Up America has driven over 600,000 phone calls to Congress and mobilized tens of thousands of protestors across the country.