🇺🇸 SCOTUS Ethics

Plus, crocheting marathon.

The Flag

Good morning, and happy Wednesday. A video captured the adorable, heart-warming moment when two friends and Philadelphia Eagles fans found out their seats had been upgraded to the sidelines!

Plus, a Washington woman who learned to crochet when she was 8 years old practiced her hobby for 34 hours and 7 minutes to break a world record.

Also, today could be your last chance to become a shareholder of StartEngine.

TRENDING

Left: How Gilded Age Lawmakers Saved America From Plutocracy Daniel Schulman, Mother Jones

Right: Scott Exit Brings GOP Closer to a DeSantis-Haley Battle W. James Antle III, Washington Examiner

Right: The Septuagenarian Sea Harold Meyerson, American Prospect

Right: Every Day Biden Does Something To Weaken America Bernie Marcus, FOX Business

QUICK CLICKS

House Passes Funding Bill, March for Israel, Trump Lawyer Testimony

US: House passes GOP funding bill to avert government shutdown (NPR)

US: Demonstrators from across the country ‘March for Israel’ in DC with ramped up security for the unprecedented event. (CNN)

World: Palestinians call for evacuating Gaza’s largest hospital as Israel and Hamas battle just outside (AP)

US: Ex-Trump lawyer says ‘boss’ was not going to leave White House (The Guardian)

US: House stalls impeachment of Homeland Secretary Mayorkas for handling of immigration (NPR)

US: Rep. George Santos former campaign fundraiser Samuel Miele pleads guilty (CNBC)

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SUPREME COURT

SCOTUS Ethics

On Monday, the Supreme Court announced the adoption of an ethics code for Justices, following scrutiny from Democratic lawmakers and left-leaning media outlets.

Reporting from the Left: Supreme Court adopts code of conduct amid ethics scrutiny (NBC News)

Reporting from the Right: Supreme Court adopts modified ethics code after pressure from Hill Dems (FOX News)

From The Flag: Earlier this year, ProPublica published a report stating that for over two decades, Justice Clarence Thomas had “accepted luxury trips” from Republican mega-donor Harlan Crow without disclosing them. Similar reports regarding other Justices were published in the following months, sparking criticism from the Senate Judiciary Committee and debate over Congress’ authority to regulate the court. Here’s what both sides are saying in response to the ethics code.

LEFT-LEANING SENTIMENT

This Is Inadequate

  • “It doesn’t seem like the court’s new code of ethics will do all that much.”

  • “The court wouldn’t have adopted this code were it not for ethics scandals facing current members, Justice Clarence Thomas especially.”

  • “The code doesn’t add any major requirements or have enforcement measures, leaving compliance to each justice’s discretion.”

After All That Pressure, Supreme Court Adopts Most Pathetic “Code of Ethics” Ever Ellie Quinlan Houghtaling, The New Republic: “It requires justices to ‘uphold the integrity and independence of the judiciary’ and ‘avoid impropriety and the appearance of impropriety in all activities,’ according to the code. The code does not mention any enforcement mechanisms, however, and disclosures are completely voluntary. … In a statement attached to the code, the justices highlighted that the court has ‘long had the equivalent of common law ethics rules,’ which they believe added to confusion around the court’s behavior. … Yet the new set of rules fails to outline possible consequences should ethics violations persist. … ‘This is a long-overdue step by the justices, but a code of ethics is not binding unless there is a mechanism to investigate possible violations and enforce the rules,’ said Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, a Rhode Island Democrat, noting that the court’s ‘honor system’ holding justices accountable hasn’t worked in the past.”

The Supreme Court takes an overdue half-step toward accountability Jessica Levinson, MSNBC: “To be sure, the court wouldn’t have adopted this code were it not for the drip, drip, drip of ethics scandals facing current members, Justice Clarence Thomas especially. … Let’s also be clear that the court didn’t want to do this. In a 158-word ‘statement of the court’ that precedes its new code, the tone the court adopts right off the bat is that really this is all our fault. It’s our fault, the statement suggests, for being so confused as to think that because they’re the only nine federal judges in the country not subject to a binding code of conduct, some act as if they’re not subject to a binding code of conduct. That ‘statement of the court’ is really just a defensive introduction to what follows. … It is our fault, the statement says, for having the ‘misunderstanding’ that Supreme Court justices ‘regard themselves as unrestricted by any ethics rules.’ … What the justices are really trying to argue is that it’s our fault for thinking they act like they’re not subject to a binding code of ethics.”

One more opinion piece from the Left: Supreme Court Announces Unenforceable Code of Ethics Alex Nguyen, Daily Beast

RIGHT-LEANING SENTIMENT

The Left Pressured Them and Won’t Be Satisfied

  • “The justices have published rules restating and refining their ethical obligations. They will get no thanks for doing it.”

  • Democrats will never be satisfied because this isn’t about holding the Supreme Court accountable. It’s about discrediting the Court.

  • “Funny how Democrats weren’t so interested in codes of conduct and ethics violations before the court had a conservative-leaning majority.“

The Supreme Court’s New Ethics Code Rebukes Its Critics Dan McLaughlin, National Review: “In politics, one of the hardest decisions is whether to do something you think is right when it’s being demanded by the wrong people for the wrong reasons as part of a campaign to accomplish the wrong ends. That’s where the Supreme Court has found itself in the debate over publishing a code of ethics for the justices. Today, the Court did so. It will get no credit for this from its critics, but the code is a positive step and one that deprives them of a bad-faith talking point. It makes it easier for members of the public and the bar to review in one place the standards that the justices hold out as governing their own behavior. It makes it harder for Congress to justify enacting legislation that would impose a code of dubious constitutionality. The well-financed campaign to paint the conservative justices (and only them) as unethical is only one prong of a wider effort to intimidate and/or discredit the Court and its justices by physical protest, threats of violence, smears, and proposals to restructure the Court.”

By Caving To Chuck Schumer, SCOTUS Only Incentivizes More Attacks David Harsanyi, The Federalist: “After the Supreme Court announced it was implementing a code of ethics this week, Chuck Schumer noted that it was “an important first step” but didn’t go far enough. There will, of course, never be enough steps, because the entire ginned-up controversy over ethics is a cynical ploy to destroy the legitimacy of the court. And everyone, other than perhaps the most gullible partisan sap, understands what’s happening. … The effort to destroy the Supreme Court’s legitimacy is a highly coordinated partisan scheme. It begins with wealthy anti-court oppo groups conjuring some rickety accusation that can’t withstand even the slightest inquiry. That oppo is shopped to accommodating partisan outlets — some, like ProPublica, are already on the payroll — to create the appearance of widespread, organic reporting. The tinny accusations are then laundered by the media, which prop up the claims with thousands of words of pseudojournalistic verbiage and sleek production.”

One more opinion piece from the Right: Supreme Court Adopts a Code of Conduct as Top Democrats Grouse Karen Townsend, Hot Air

FLAG THIS

SCOTUS Approval Remains Low

Before the Supreme Court began its new term in October, a poll found that the views of the court remained at record lows. The 41% of U.S. adults who currently approve of how the Supreme Court is handling its job is statistically similar to the 40% to 43% ratings over the past two years.

The court’s approval rating first fell to the record-low 40% in September 2021 after it declined to block a controversial Texas abortion law, a precursor to its 2022 Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization decision that overturned Roe v. Wade (Gallup).

Do you believe this ethics code goes far enough?

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WATERCOOLER

Xbox Emerges, Vaca Pics, Church of Parthenon

On This Day in 2001: Microsoft released the Xbox gaming console, dramatically influencing the history of consumer entertainment technology.

Today I learned the Parthenon wasn’t just a temple to the Greek gods — it was also a Christian church dedicated to the Virgin Mary.

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