Sen. Murphy calls Supreme Court ‘brazenly corrupt and brazenly political’

Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) called the Supreme Court “brazenly corrupt and brazenly political” as he defended President Biden over reports that he described the high court as “out of kilter” during a fundraiser this weekend.

In an interview on CNN’s “State of the Union,” Murphy said it is “absolutely” appropriate for Biden to criticize the court.

“I think it would be irresponsible for the president not to talk about the fact that this court is becoming brazenly corrupt and brazenly political,” Murphy added when asked about the appropriateness of Biden’s remarks.

“And it’s up to the American people, this election, to do something about that,” he said, adding that Congress, too, must “step up” and pass a code of ethical conduct “before it’s too late.”

The interview comes amid calls for Justice Samuel Alito to recuse himself from upcoming cases related to the Jan. 6 Capitol attack and the 2020 presidential election, following reports that two flags associated with the effort to keep former President Trump in power after 2020 were on display outside his home. He has refused those calls.

One instance after the 2020 election involved an upside-down American flag, a symbol historically used to signal distress that was also used by those protesting Trump’s loss and that later became associated with the “Stop the Steal” movement, which tried to prevent the transfer of presidential power based on false claims of election fraud.

And in 2023, at his vacation home in New Jersey, Alito flew an “Appeal to Heaven” flag — which, though it has origins in the Revolutionary War, has more recently served as a call for a conservative, Biblically centered government and was spotted in the mob that stormed the Capitol on Jan. 6.

Alito said his wife decided to raise the flag at their home, saying she has a “legal right to use the property as she sees fit” and describing her as “fond of flying flags.”

Justice Clarence Thomas has similarly faced calls for his recusal over the involvement of his wife, Virginia, in the push to overturn the 2020 election results. Like Alito, Thomas has refused to recuse himself.

He has also faced scrutiny for accepting lavish gifts and vacations from billionaire Harlan Crow, which were largely uncovered by a ProPublica investigation that raised questions about his ability to stay impartial.

Murphy pointed to these examples as evidence of a “crisis” at the court.

“I think there’s a crisis on the court, in particular with respect to Justice Alito and Justice Thomas. What Justice Thomas is engaged in is just a grift. He’s got a major political player on the outside, who absolutely has political and business interests at the court, paying off a justice,” Murphy said. “Justice Alito is openly displaying affiliation with political causes in public.”

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