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Judicial Ethics

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Miami Herald/CQ-Roll Call: Asking Clarence Thomas to testify in Senate could spark a showdown

Common Cause sent a letter Tuesday to the Senate Judiciary Committee asking them have Thomas testify and “put it on the record for the American people,” as well as have Roberts testify. “The U.S. Supreme Court has repeatedly proven itself incapable of policing itself without a code of ethics,” Common Cause co-president Marilyn Carpinteyro said in a news release. “It is time for Congress to hold hearings and pass legislation to establish a code of ethics for Supreme Court Justices to hold them to the same standards as every other federal judge in the nation.”

USA Today/Gannett: GOP billionaire Harlan Crow purchased property from Justice Clarence Thomas, according to new report

"Americans expect and deserve a fair and impartial Supreme Court and we need transparency in order to identify potential conflicts and to restore public trust in our nation’s highest court,” Common Cause co-president Marilyn Carpinteyro said earlier this week, before the latest revelation. "The U.S. Supreme Court has repeatedly proven itself incapable of policing itself without a code of ethics."

Common Cause Veterans Kathay Feng and Stephen Spaulding Step Into VP Roles

Common Cause is pleased to announce that two Common Cause veterans have stepped into the role of vice president at the government watchdog. Longtime Common Cause leader Kathay Feng will step into the role of Vice President for Programs and Stephen Spaulding is returning to Common Cause from his role as Policy Director of the U.S. Senate Rules Committee and will serve as Vice President for Policy & External Affairs. Together the two will help lead Common Cause’s national efforts to reduce barriers to a more representative democracy. They will also support efforts for the organization’s 30 state operations working to create a 21st Century democracy that works for everyone.

Judiciary Committees Urged to Call Justice Thomas as a Witness in Supreme Court Ethics Hearings

Today, Common Cause urged the House and Senate Judiciary Committees to call Justice Clarence Thomas as a witness in hearings to examine Supreme Court ethics in the wake of the latest scandal to engulf the nation’s highest court. Recent reporting by ProPublica revealed that for more than two decades Justice Thomas failed to report luxury gifts and vacations he received from billionaire Republican donor Harlan Crow. 

MarketWatch: Watchdog groups call for Justice Clarence Thomas to address reported failure to disclose gifts from real-estate tycoon

Common Cause’s senior director of legislative affairs, Aaron Scherb, said it would be reasonable for U.S. lawmakers to have Thomas testify as to “why he didn’t put any of these trips on his personal financial-disclosure forms.” Scherb said that move could come from the Senate Judiciary Committee, chaired by Illinois Democrat Dick Durbin. Durbin said on Thursday that his committee “will act” to respond to the ProPublica report. Scherb also described the lack of disclosure by Thomas as “extremely serious.” “Having a billionaire Republican donor wining and dining a Supreme Court justice through use of a private jet, luxury stays at his vacation retreat — not just one or two times but over the course of 20 years — and not have [the] Supreme Court justice disclose any of this, as he’s required to on personal financial-disclosure forms, is a huge scandal,” the Common Cause expert said.

Salon: “Model for bad democracy”: Voting rights wins may be reversed after GOP flips North Carolina court

This is the first time in 30 years that the court has decided to rehear two cases, said Bob Phillips, executive director of Common Cause North Carolina. "I do think that North Carolina, unfortunately, is often looked upon as a model for bad democracy and can be the playbook for other states," Phillips said. "And we're almost like the laboratory for some of this, that we think is extremely harmful."

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