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Republican members of the Senate Judiciary Committee made a strong and united showing to oppose Sheldon Whitehouse’s SCERT Act at Wednesday’s press conference and yesterday’s markup. While they predictably did not have the votes to prevent Democrats from advancing this legislation to the full Senate at the markup, they exposed how destructive it would be to the Supreme Court and how cynical its proponents are to advance it. And they fought hard, having at least 61 amendments to the bill prepared, of which the following eight were offered. In parentheses I add my own shorthand nicknames for these proposals:

  • Graham (Supreme Court Police have to do Merrick Garland’s job for him) Amendment SIL23892: Expanding the authority of the Supreme Court Police to provide authorization to investigate violations of Sec. 1507.
  • Cornyn (Judicial self-defense) Amendment OLL23707: Granting concealed carry privileges to all federal judges.
  • Blackburn (Name the leaker) Amendment SIL23875: Providing that the SCERT Act shall not become effective until the day the Dobbs leaker is identified and disclosed.
  • Kennedy (Denounce the high-tech lynching) Amendment SIL23885: Sense of Congress condemning racist statements against Justice Thomas.
  • Lee (Punish the leaker) Amendment SIL23890: Creating a criminal penalty for leaking confidential judicial work product of the Supreme Court.
  • Hawley (If you’re serious about ethics reform, you’d propose something like this) Amendment LEW23329: Banning stock trading for government officials.
  • Cotton (No more Josh Gersteins) Amendment COT237A13: Imposing disclosure requirements on those with Supreme Court press credentials and special access and requiring them to swear not to publish draft opinions.
  • Cruz (No Court packing) Amendment SIL23800: Fixing the number of Supreme Court Justices at nine.

These amendments called attention to Democratic hypocrisy and damage to the Court perpetrated or encouraged by Democratic attacks of recent years. Senator Kennedy’s amendment even won approval by the committee, following minor changes proposed by Chairman Durbin, demonstrating that even Judiciary Democrats realized that racist attacks on Justice Thomas like that of Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison are unacceptable. But of course, Democrats are not backing down from any other aspect of their assault on the Court, and Republicans deserve credit for not backing down from their defense of a coordinate branch of government.

With the same united front in the full Senate, Republicans can prevent this legislation from getting past a cloture vote.


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