Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito said Congress has “no authority” to regulate the high court. His comments were made following a Democratic attempt to mandate stronger ethics rules for the justices.

During an interview with the Wall Street Journal, the conservative justice voiced his opinion about the measure to write a code of ethics for the Supreme Court.

“I know this is a controversial view, but I’m willing to say it,” Alito told the paper. “No provision in the Constitution gives them the authority to regulate the Supreme Court – period.”

The U.S. Constitution does allow Congress to structure lower federal courts; however, it explicitly gives the Supreme Court its own judicial powers.

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Alito is one of several justices who have recently come under scrutiny for ethics controversies. He is alleged to have taken a fishing trip paid for by a conservative donor in 2008; the donor appeared before the court years after the vacation, and Alito did not recuse himself from the case nor did he disclose the trip on his annual financial report.

In light of this dilemma and others like it, the Senate Judiciary Committee voted earlier this month to advance a Supreme Court ethics reform bill. The proposal was sponsored by Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-Rhode Island) and Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Illinois). It was passed through the committee along party lines, with Republicans arguing that the agenda targets conservative justices.

The measure is awaiting approval from the upper chamber, where it seems unlikely to gain the needed 60 votes.

The measure would establish new conflict of interest rules for the Supreme Court and other federal judges and would make such information available to the public.

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