U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse continues to attack the Supreme Court for failing to police itself — or accept outside policing — on ethics issues. Whitehouse asserts that the Court, and most notably Justices Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito, has been “captured” by wealthy right-wing benefactors, and compares the current SCOTUS to the 19th century railroad commission under the thumb of American robber barons. (Whitehouse calls today’s influence purchasers “creepy billionaires” — see: The Scheme — Sheldon’s Court Capture Speeches.)
This week, in a bombshell post revealing a continuation of Whitehouse’s long investigation into Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, the Senator reminded his followers he isn’t just after Alito and Thomas. Whitehouse’s revelation about his ongoing Kavanaugh (and FBI) scrutiny shows that taking (and failing to disclose) large gifts from unscrupulous benefactors isn’t the only ethical failing a SCOTUS justice can commit — and for which there may be consequences.
In addition to graft, there is also the standard of personal conduct, a standard Whitehouse implies — in praising his most public accuser — that Justice Kavanaugh failed to uphold.
Dr. Blasey Ford shared her stunning testimony 5 years ago today. I promised her I'd do everything in my power to ensure a full and proper investigation into her allegations was conducted.— Sheldon Whitehouse (@SenWhitehouse) September 27, 2023
Whitehouse commemorates the moment five years ago when “Dr. Blasey Ford shared her stunning testimony” that accused then SCOTUS nominee Brett Kavanaugh of assault. Whitehouse reveals in a stunner: “I haven’t stopped working to get to the bottom of what happened to the tips that the FBI collected and did not investigate.”
Whitehouse’s office reported last year that when Kavanaugh’s conduct was in question during his confirmation, the “Trump White House determined which witnesses the FBI should interview [and] 4,500 tips to FBI went uninvestigated.”
A June 2021 letter from the FBI Office of Congressional Affairs revealed new information on the Kavanaugh investigation, including that the tip line received “over 4,500 tips, including phone calls and electronic submissions.” By the FBI’s own account, it merely “provided all relevant tips” to Trump’s Office of White House Counsel, the very office that had constrained and directed the limited investigation…Whitehouse and a number of colleagues wrote to Director Wray requesting additional information on the FBI’s supplemental background investigation of Justice Kavanaugh.
Can you look into who paid off his enormous debt around the time he was nominated?— Brenda (@brendajoanneWY) September 28, 2023
Whitehouse’s surprise announcement that he is still in dedicated pursuit of the solicited but unrevealed FBI tip line information helped him commend Dr. Ford on her public testimony while also keeping in play a potential scandal for Kavanaugh. (Note: Kavanaugh has recently hinted that the Court could soon codify some conduct rules.)