Ocasio-Cortez, Raskin to introduce legislation to ‘rein in a fundamentally unaccountable and rogue’ Supreme Court

Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) and Jamie Raskin (D-Md.) said Tuesday they will introduce legislation in response to the increased ethics concerns related to the Supreme Court.

Raskin and Ocasio-Cortez, who serve as the ranking and vice-ranking members, respectively, on the House Oversight and Accountability Committee, were part of a committee roundtable Tuesday regarding these concerns. They explored various “avenues” for holding Supreme Court justices accountable, they told MSNBC anchor Chris Hayes.

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

“Congressman Raskin and myself will be introducing forthcoming legislation to even 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,” she added later.

The Supreme Court has come under scrutiny over the past year following a series of reports detailing various undisclosed luxury trips, gifts, and questionable extrajudicial activities involving multiple justices. The reports spiked interest in congressional oversight of the justices’ behavior and the gifts they accept.

Senate Judiciary Committee Democrats have repeatedly pushed for legislation to increase oversight of the Supreme Court. This pressure increased last month after reports surfaced about a pair of flags flown over Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito’s homes, including an upside-down American flag over his Alexandria, Va., residence in the days surrounding the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol riot and President Biden’s inauguration.

“It’s the highest court in the land with the lowest ethical standards. 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,” Raskin said.

“And so, we need to clean that up. And that’s why we said we’re going to start with something simple that the whole country will be able to understand immediately and intuitively,” Raskin said. “We want a $50 gift ban for U.S. Supreme Court justices. They make $300,000 a year. Pay for your own lunch and pay for your own vacation.”

Earlier on Tuesday, Senate Judiciary Committee Chair Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) told reporters Democrats are planning to try moving legislation on Supreme Court ethics on the floor this week via unanimous consent. A Republican senator is widely expected to deny consent.

The Supreme Court adopted a new code of ethics in November, but Democrats said its impact is hampered by the ability for each justice to enforce it upon themselves.

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