Katie Porter Rebukes Samuel Alito’s Claims Congress Can’t Regulate The Supreme Court

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In recent comments on Twitter, Rep. Katie Porter (D-Calif.) challenged the idea spread by the Supreme Court’s Samuel Alito that members of Congress don’t have the legal authority under the Constitution to regulate the conduct of Alito’s bench.

“This view is more than controversial; it’s incorrect,” Porter argued online. “This is coming from a justice who tried to hide the fact that he accepted luxury vacations on private jets. As a government official, I welcome the American people holding me accountable—why doesn’t Justice Alito?”

Rep. Ted Lieu (D-Calif.), a current member of the House Judiciary Committee, was also sharply critical of Alito’s perspective, which emerged amid continuing talk from some in the Democratic Party about policy proposals like expanding the size of the Supreme Court and imposing ethics rules. Democratic observers argue that Republicans have shifted the ideological balance on the court in their favor through a selective application of standards around the Senate’s role in confirming the Justices, since Republicans resisted holding hearings for a pick from Barack Obama soon before an election and then confirmed a pick from Trump much closer to the election held that year.

“Let’s play the let’s be stupid game with Justice Alito: No provision in the Constitution gives Congress the authority to provide and maintain an Air Force—period,” Lieu quipped on Twitter. “No provision in the Constitution gives Congress the authority to provide and maintain a Space Force—period. Oh, and no provision in the Constitution gives the Supreme Court the power of judicial review—period.”

He also provided more specifics. “Dear Justice Alito: You’re on the Supreme Court in part because Congress expanded the Court to 9 Justices,” Lieu continued. “Congress can impeach Justices and can in many cases strip the Court of jurisdiction. Congress has always regulated you and will continue to do so. You are not above the law.”

Alito’s argument roughly mirrors the contention controversially pushed by some on the Right that state legislators have nearly unlimited power within their states to set the terms of federal elections held therein, though the Supreme Court has since rejected this argument. Still, the argument for a lack of controlling oversight on officials has emerged before.