Justice Samuel Alito spelled out the dangerous view of unlimited power that the conservative Supreme Court majority seems to hold when he claimed that Congress lacks the authority to regulate SCOTUS.
Justice Alito says he voluntarily follows disclosure statutes that apply to lower-court judges and executive-branch officials; so do the other justices. But he notes that “Congress did not create the Supreme Court”—the Constitution did. “I know this is a controversial view, but I’m willing to say it,” he says. “No provision in the Constitution gives them the authority to regulate the Supreme Court—period.”
Do the other justices agree? “I don’t know that any of my colleagues have spoken about it publicly, so I don’t think I should say. But I think it is something we have all thought about.”
A Supreme Court Majority That Views Itself As Above The Law
It is very clear that at minimum Alito and Clarence Thomas hold this view. and the resistance of the other conservative members of the majority to any type of ethics rules or regulations suggests that they are likely to feel the same way. None of what Alito said is true, and he knows that it is not true. For example, Congress determines how many justices are on the court. Congress has the power to determine how long justices can serve on the court. Congress can set ethics or other rules to govern the court’s conduct.
If Congress decided and the President agreed, they could add twenty new SCOTUS justices.
Our governmental system is one of checks and balances. The Constitution does not give unlimited power with no checks to the Supreme Court.
Justice Alito knows this, so his statements are a signal that the current majority is interested in a power grab. The conservative majority has already been legislating from the bench, and the scandal-plagued majority views itself as above the law.
Jason is the managing editor. He is also a White House Press Pool and a Congressional correspondent for PoliticusUSA. Jason has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. His graduate work focused on public policy, with a specialization in social reform movements.
Awards and Professional Memberships
Member of the Society of Professional Journalists and The American Political Science Association