U.S. Senator Josh Hawley, R-Missouri, is not saying much about why he voted “no” on a bill that would create a code of conduct for members of the U.S. Supreme Court and their staff. But he did tell Missourinet he supports the idea of ethics standards for Supreme Court justices, but that similar standards should also be applied to members of Congress.

Hawley and the other nine Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee all voted “no” on S.359, which would require justices and their staff to disclose gifts, travel, and any outside income they receive. But it passed when all eleven Democrats voted “yes.”

Missouri’s senior U.S. senator had plenty to say, though, about another ethics bill, S.325, that would create a commission to enforce any code of conduct or ethical standards imposed on supreme court justices.

“The bill is about creating a new commission that will allow people who come to the Supreme Court to try to kick justices off their cases and choose which justice is going to hear which case,” Hawley said. “It’s totally unprecedented. So instead of nine, we’d have – who knows – six justices on a case, five justices on a case. You talk about destroying the independence of the judiciary.”

He said parties to a lawsuit could have justices removed from a case by filing complaints ahead of time.

“It would allow the litigants – and that’s largely, by the way, special interests and big time paying corporations who get their cases before the Supreme Court – they then would get to say, ‘you know actually, no I don’t want justice so-and-so to hear this case so I’m going to file a complaint! No I don’t want justice so-and-so to hear that case (so) I’m going to file a complaint.’ And you’d get to choose your panel.”

The bill to create the commission hasn’t had a public hearing yet. The bill to require supreme court justices to report gifts is awaiting a full Senate vote.

Copyright 2023, Missourinet.