On Monday, June 10, 2024, Fox News reported that Democratic Senator Sheldon Whitehouse renewed his criticism of Justice Samuel Alito ahead of an important Supreme Court ruling involving former President Donald Trump.

In a new letter sent to Justice Alito, Sen. Whitehouse took issue with comments the conservative justice had made in a July 2023 Wall Street Journal interview conducted by attorney David Rivkin and WSJ editor James Taranto. Whitehouse believed the topics discussed were aimed at hindering legislation promoted by Democrats to establish an ethics code for Supreme Court justices.

Specifically, Alito’s remarks had questioned Congress’ authority over judicial ethics matters, an argument that Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee had not supported while considering an ethics reform bill. With the interview occurring shortly after that committee markup, Whitehouse saw it as an attempt to intervene in the ongoing dispute between the court and lawmakers.

The senator had previously lodged similar complaints against Alito to Chief Justice John Roberts back in July, claiming the Wall Street Journal interview violated judicial ethics canons by appearing to endorse legal positions in a pending case. At issue for Whitehouse was the upcoming Supreme Court ruling that will determine the scope of legal immunity for former presidents, including whether Trump can be criminally prosecuted for unofficial conduct during his term.

Meanwhile, Alito and two other conservative justices are facing calls from Whitehouse and Connecticut Senator Richard Blumenthal to recuse themselves from any cases related to the 2020 election due to reported displays of pro-Trump paraphernalia at their homes after the January 6th Capitol riot. But Alito has so far resisted those recusal demands.

Republicans have since criticized Democrats like Whitehouse and Blumenthal for their private letters pressuring the Supreme Court as potentially crossing into ex-parte communications, a type of improper contact between parties in a legal dispute. With the high court poised to issue a consequential ruling on the extent of presidential immunity sometime before the end of June, Democratic opposition to Alito appears poised to continue over his role in deciding the parameters of Trump’s post-presidency legal exposure.



Source: Fox News