Watch Kennedy’s full statement here.
WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.), ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Federal Courts, Oversight, Agency Action, and Federal Rights, today delivered an opening statement in the committee’s hearing about the federal judiciary.
Key excerpts of Kennedy’s statement are below:
“Americans may be poor under the Biden administration, but they are not stupid. They know what's going on here. I remember the Democratic leader’s words of March 4, 2020 on the steps of the United States Supreme Court like they were yesterday.
“‘I want to tell you, Gorsuch,’ he said—not Justice Gorsuch—'Gorsuch.’
“‘I want to tell you, Gorsuch. I want to tell you, Kavanaugh, you have released the whirlwind, and you will pay the price. You won't know what hit you if you go forward with these awful decisions.’
“Wow. Just wow. I think Matthew 12:36 is correct, ‘For by thy words you shall be justified, and by thy words you shall be condemned.’
“Now, the sad truth is that some—not all—some of my Democratic colleagues have been on a crusade to undermine the United States Supreme Court's legitimacy and the credibility of the federal judiciary for years. Today’s hearing is just the next chapter in their federal power grab, and they’ve invited cameras.
“It's worth remembering the very real persecution that some Democrats have levied on very good people. It started with the savage destruction of Judge Robert Bork’s nomination, which even the Washington Post . . . said was a case of ‘sentencing first—verdict afterward.’ In other words, they gave him a fair and impartial firing squad. Then we saw the ‘high-tech lynching’ of Justice Clarence Thomas. Then—for the first time in history—they weaponized the filibuster to kill Miguel Estrada’s nomination, and they also demonized [Janice] Rogers Brown, a very fine person.
“When the United States Senate confirmed three new Supreme Court justices, which the loon wing of the Democratic Party loathed, the campaign of threats ratcheted up. You remember the shouts. ‘Let’s pack the Court,’ they said. . . . The political threats from the highest officials in our government fueled physical threats against the justices.”
. . .
“’You have released the whirlwind,’ the Democratic leader said. Incensed protestors took to the streets, not outside Congress, not outside the Court, but outside the homes—the homes—of Justices Roberts, Kavanaugh, Thomas and Barrett. Federal law prohibits this intimidation, but the Biden Justice Department allowed it.
“‘You will pay the price,’ the Democratic leader said. In that spirit, angry protestors publicized the location of the school that Justice Barrett’s children attend.”
“‘You won’t know what hit you,’ the Democratic leader said. A man with a gun, ammunition, knife, pepper spray and zip ties went to justice’s home to assassinate him. Actually, his stated goal was to murder three justices.
“Not so suddenly, the ends justified the means for activists, even inside the Court itself: The Dobbs decision wasn’t leaked by a left-wing blogger.
“Why? You don’t need to be Einstein’s cousin to figure it out. They aren’t getting their way. So, they want to change the rules, but the Constitution isn’t a game, folks. And now, some Democrats want Congress to override the Supreme Court of the United States and apply rules to its justices.
“The constitutional separation of powers means that no branch of the federal government can dictate how another should govern itself. . . . This is to protect the people from abuse. The framers insulated the federal judiciary from political control to ensure that the justices would decide cases impartially, impartially—without fear of the kind of retaliation that fills the pages of some—not all, but some—left-of-Lenin Democrats’ playbook.”
. . .
“Even if Congress wrote a code of ethics for the Supreme Court, the court could rightly rule that code unconstitutional. None of the laws we make here can trump the United States Constitution.
“What’s more, Democrats want to use the lower courts as a cudgel against the highest court in the land by giving circuit judges the power to rule on whether justices should recuse themselves. Consider the conflicts of interest and the confusion that that would breed.”
. . .
“The absence of an ethical code in statute doesn’t mean that justices lack guidance or accountability. Judges and judges routinely consult the existing code of conduct, and federal law already requires recusal in certain circumstances, like bias or financial interest. . . . The justices are also subject to strict financial disclosure rules, just like my colleagues here.
“Not only is this Democratic proposal unconstitutional, it is unnecessary. The attacks on conservative justices are targeted. They’re exaggerated. The alarmism is affected. The danger isn’t that rogue justices are operating without ethics. It’s that Democrats aren’t winning every fight and they find that reality intolerable.”
. . .
“Today’s hearing is an excuse to sling more mud at an institution that some—not all—some Democrats don’t like because they can’t control it 100 percent of the time. . . . Until they get the outcome they want in every case, I fear they are going to continue to slander it in an effort to take control of it.”
Kennedy’s full statement is available here.