SCOTUS: It’s Not Us, It’s You

The “new” Supreme Court ethics code is unintentionally funny. It’s clearly crafted to win the votes of Sam the Sham and Corrupt Clarence. I think a stronger document might have six or seven votes. But Alito and Thomas consider themselves above mere mortal concerns such as truth, justice, and the American way so this is the best they can do for now. Superman weeps.

The “new code” begins with an introduction that is, as I just said, unintentionally funny:

“The absence of a Code, however, has led in recent years to the misunderstanding that the Justices of this Court, unlike all other jurists in this country, regard themselves as unrestricted by any ethics rules. To dispel this misunderstanding, we are issuing this Code, which largely represents a codification of principles that we have long regarded as governing our conduct.”

Misunderstanding? I for one completely understand the corrupt goings on between Thomas, Alito, and the wealthy creeps out to buy the highest court in the land. It’s as simple as simple syrup.

The only misunderstanding here is the earworm that fakakata statement gave me:

The great Dahlia Lithwick has written the best response to that nonsensical introduction:

“… it is not the justices who have misunderstood the various sources, canons, common law provisions, etc. when they failed to disclose gifts from donors with cases before the court, or when they attended Koch events that granted access to them for high-dollar donors, or even when they failed to recuse in cases in which they had an interest. The confusion, in reading the old rules, was evidently ours and ours alone. In order to dispel a public misunderstanding of the old rules—​​and why some members of the court declined to abide by them—the court is repromulgating virtually the same rules, which they themselves will enforce, but this time assuring us that we got it wrong the first time when we didn’t think they alone should enforce them. Trust the same justices who declined to follow the old rules to better adhere to the new ones, they urge. This time they really will unilaterally and in secret make better choices. Then and only then will your confusion desist.”

I don’t know about you, but I’m still confused. I speak legalese but I don’t speak double talk. The “new code” is as full of double talk as your basic Republican politician. That works because Roberts and Kavanaugh are pols at heart. They at least understand that the court’s reputation is in deep shit and sinking fast. To be crude, Alito and Thomas think their shit don’t stink. Their ethics certainly do.

Senator Sheldon Whitehouse has been all over the SCOTUS ethics story like a cheap suit. He regards the “new code” as a baby step forward with a glaring omission: There’s no enforcement mechanism. Rules without enforcement are meaningless.

Ruth Marcus is the WaPo’s top SCOTUS watcher and she said this about the code:

“The biggest omission is the glaring absence of accountability. This is a “you’re not the boss of me” code, up to each individual justice to self-administer — an approach that would be more tolerable had some justices not already proved themselves to be tone-deaf and negligent, or worse, in complying with the rules.”

I dig Marcus’ use of the phrase “you’re not the boss of me.” Is she a They Might Be Giants fan?

You’re not the boss of me nails Thomas and Alito’s attitude. They believe they’re better than us mere mortals. They had to be dragged kicking and screaming to accept this lame code. It’s hard to see them going along with an enforcement mechanism without continuing public pressure. Keep it up, Senator Whitehouse.

Six or seven of The Nine might be willing to have an Inspector General or some other way to make the code as binding as your basic high fat, high carb, and high sugar breakfast. Alito and Thomas want us to trust them. I’m as likely to trust the Indicted Impeached Insult Comedian.

That reminds me of a song that has nothing to do with constipating foods or SCOTUS. It does, however, rock:

Who would have thought that the beleaguered SCOTUS majority would sound like George Costanza of Seinfeld fame and blame the public and nosy media for their self-inflicted wounds? George is an asshole, so is Sam the Sham. It’s easy to imagine Alito saying this at a Greek diner:

The “new code” claims to have reinvented the ethical wheel but I’m not buying it: It’s them, not us.

Finally, a song that flips the post title on its head. The last word goes to The Little Willies with Norah Jones:

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