Senate Democrats back down on vote to subpoena associates of Clarence Thomas

November 10, 2023

Fox News reported earlier this year that Democratic members of the Senate Judiciary Committee threatened to impose new ethics rules on Supreme Court justices.

As part of that effort, those members had planned on sending subpoenas to two figures tied to Justice Clarence Thomas.  However, they ultimately backed down this week in the face of Republican opposition. 

Lindsey Graham promises "a complete s--tshow"

According to CNN, Democrats had planned to compel testimony from Federalist Society co-chair Leonard Leo and Republican donor Harlan Crow.

The left-leaning news outlet ProPublica released a report this past April alleging that Crow regularly took Thomas on undisclosed expensive vacations.

However, CNN noted that Republicans responded by putting forward dozens of amendments dealing with border security, social media use, and liberal Justice Sonia Sotomayor, all of which Democrats found unappealing.

South Carolina Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham sounded a defiant tone during a hearing on Thursday, saying, "You’re going to have a complete s--tshow but if that’s what you want, that’s what you’re gonna get."

Josh Hawley threatens to subpoena Democratic consulting firm

Meanwhile, Missouri Republican Sen. Josh Hawley suggested that he would attempt to compel testimony from the left-leaning political consulting firm Arabella Advisors, calling it "the biggest dark money group in the country."

"I think the Democrats will regret this, ultimately, because when Republicans retake the majority I mean, the precedent is going to be here," CNN quoted Hawley as saying. He added, "I'm not going to participate in a witch hunt against Justice Thomas."

Meanwhile, CNN observed that Graham expressed satisfaction when the committee adjourned for the week without a vote taking place.

"I think not going down this road is good," the South Carolina Republican said of Democrats' plan to subpoena Crow and Leo.

"I mean, they know where we’re at. I mean, none of us agree with what they’re doing about the Supreme Court and these private citizens, and, you know, we would respond in kind and we’d kind of get the committee off in a ditch," he added.

Chairman promises vote "as soon as possible"

For his part, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Dick Durbin told CNN that Democrats are "still united on issuing the subpoenas," adding that it will happen "as soon as possible."

"I think, as I said, we’re ready to vote on those, Republicans are delaying it with amendments. In fairness, we’ve done the same thing. But you know, I want to make sure that we’re together on major issues that they raised in the amendments," he added.

CNN quoted Durbin as saying in a speech that he won't "stand idly by as these fawning billionaires with interest before the court use their immense wealth to buy private access to the justices and then deny the Senate Judiciary Committee information to which we’re lawfully entitled."

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