Senate Judiciary Committee Democrats Investigate Supreme Court Justices’ Trips and Events
The Senate Judiciary Committee Democrats, including Dick Durbin of Illinois and Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island, have recently sent letters to Leonard Leo and billionaire activists, requesting information about trips and events that Supreme Court justices have participated in over the years.
Second Letter Sent to Leo, Crow, and Arkley
On October 5, the senators sent a second letter to Leonard Leo, Harlan Crow, and Robin Arkley, pressuring them to comply with a previous request made in July for details regarding trips involving Justices Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito.
Leo’s Attorney Responds
In response to the letters, Leonard Leo’s attorney, David Rivkin, wrote a letter stating that the Committee’s inquiry is a form of political retaliation and violates the First Amendment and the Equal Protection component of the Due Process Clause. Rivkin argues that the Committee has ignored their objections and continues to press forward with its unconstitutional bill.
Refusal to Provide Information
Rivkin states that they believe the Senate Judiciary Committee is not entitled to the personal information they seek and, since the Committee has not provided arguments to the contrary, they have declined to provide the information.
Investigation into Leo’s Associations
The senators have requested an itemized list of gifts and payments from Leo or his linked groups dating back decades in relation to any Supreme Court justice he has associated with, as part of their investigation.
Leo’s Involvement with the Federalist Society
Leonard Leo has been a part of the Federalist Society for decades, which has faced criticism from liberal activists for its involvement in advising and lobbying former President Trump through the nominations of Supreme Court Justices Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh, and Amy Coney Barrett.
ProPublica’s Reporting and Conservative Criticism
The senators’ demands stem from ProPublica’s reporting on the travel habits of Justices Thomas and Alito. Conservatives have criticized the reporting, pointing out that many of the experts cited in the reports have undisclosed ties to Democratic causes.
Leo and Alito’s Response
Leo has released a statement dismissing the idea that the fishing trip was kept from the public, and Alito has defended himself against ProPublica’s reporting, stating that he talked about the trip in front of journalists and thousands of people years ago.
Investigation by Washington, D.C.’s Democrat Attorney General
Leonard Leo has also come under investigation by Washington, D.C.’s Democrat attorney general, Brian Schwalb. Schwalb’s office faced criticism for targeting Leo while ignoring a similar liberal dark money network overseen by the Arabella Advisors consulting firm. However, after the criticism, Schwalb’s office also opened a probe into the Arabella Advisors-managed network.