On Tuesday, following a House Oversight and Accountability Committee roundtable addressing rising ethical concerns regarding the Supreme Court, Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-New York) and Jamie Raskin (D-Maryland) proposed legislation aimed at ensuring accountability for Supreme Court justices.

“Congressman Raskin and myself will be introducing forthcoming legislation to have the Supreme Court be subject to the same $50 gift rule that he and I are subject to, as everyone else who are members of Congress,” announced Ocasio-Cortez.

At the committee roundtable, exclusively attended by Democrats, Ocasio-Cortez questioned why justices aren’t subject to the same ethical standards as the other branches of government.

She emphasized the need to “connect the dots” between what she described as a web of dark money and the circumstances that solidified a conservative majority, notably during Donald Trump‘s presidency.

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“It is not a question of if Congress has jurisdiction and power over the Supreme Court,” said Ocasio-Cortez, “It is, what power are we going to exercise in order to rein in a fundamentally unaccountable and rogue court?”

In the two years since the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, stripping away the constitutional right to abortion, the court has been embroiled in a string of ethical controversies, largely centered around two of its most conservative justices, Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito.

Recently, Thomas disclosed that he accepted luxury vacations funded by conservative billionaire Harlan Crow, who also covered the private school tuition for Thomas’s grandnephew. Similarly, last year, ProPublica published a report indicating that Alito and Thomas received tens of thousands of dollars in gifts from affluent conservatives who subsequently had business before the court.

“Just look at Justice Thomas whose corruption is almost comical,” wrote Ocasio-Cortez on X. “Secret trips to retreats, international trips on super yachts. Here in Congress, we are forbidden from accepting gifts that exceed $50. But Justice Thomas has received $4 million in gifts.”

Furthermore, last month reports emerged regarding two distinct incidents involving controversial flags displayed outside of Alito’s home.

In 2020, shortly after the Jan. 6 riots, an upside-down American flag, representing the “Stop the Steal” movement, was flown outside his Virginia home. Similarly, in July 2023, it was reported that he also displayed the “Appeal to Heaven” flag, a symbol adopted by Jan. 6 protestors and linked to Christian nationalism.

In response, Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee have advocated for legislation to enhance oversight of the Supreme Court. They have also urged Alito to recuse himself from the cases involving Trump and the Jan 6. defendants, a request he declined.

“It’s the highest court in the land and with the lowest ethical standards,” said Raskin. “These are the only governmental officials in the land who are not governed by a binding ethics code. There’s no process by which we can hold any of them accountable.”

While the Supreme Court adopted a new code of ethics in November, Democrats have criticized it, contending that its impact is hampered by allowing each justice to self-enforce it.

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