Tempers flared during a Senate Judiciary Committee meeting as Democrats voted to authorize subpoenas for conservative donor Harlan Crow and activist Leonard Leo, both connected to Supreme Court Justices Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito’s luxury vacations.
The meeting concluded with Republican members walking out of the hearing room before the vote.
Subpoenas authorized amidst partisan tensions
The motion to issue subpoenas was passed with 11 Democratic votes, as not a single Republican remained in the room at the time of the vote.
Chair Dick Durbin moved ahead with the vote to prevent Republican delays, as there had been weeks of partisan disputes over the subpoenas.
Controversy surrounds subpoenas after ProPublica report
ProPublica’s reporting had revealed Crow and Leo’s involvement in the Justices’ vacations, leading to the subpoenas.
Republican Senators Ted Cruz and Mike Lee argued that the subpoenas were “invalid” as they violated Senate and committee rules.
Controversy over subpoenas and Senate rules
Cruz pointed out that the vote concluded after the two-hour limit set for committee meetings.
Additionally, they contended that the subpoenas were approved without a quorum since Republicans had left the room.
Senator Lindsey Graham’s strong opposition to subpoenas
Despite these objections, the subpoenas are primarily symbolic, requiring 60 votes on the Senate floor for enforcement.
Senator Lindsey Graham expressed strong opposition to the authorization of subpoenas, calling it “garbage” and criticizing Democratic efforts to address Supreme Court ethics.
Republicans accuse Durbin of harming committee’s collegial relations
“I don’t know who you’re trying to please. I don’t know what group is going to feel better because we’re doing this on your side, but you’re pleasing like none of us,” Graham fumed.
“This is about an ongoing effort to destroy this court, to destroy [conservative Justice] Clarence Thomas’s reputation.”
Republicans filed 177 amendments to delay the subpoenas, accusing Durbin of harming the committee’s collegial relations.
Debate over Rule IV violation in Senate Judiciary Committee
Republicans accused Durbin of violating Rule IV, which mandates a roll call vote before ending debate and bringing a matter to a vote.
Durbin defended his decision, explaining that two nominees had already been debated and voted on but required new votes due to a procedural issue involving proxy voting by Democratic senators.
Partisan vote approves subpoenas in Senate judiciary committee
The committee approved the nominations of Mustafa Taher Kasubhai and Eumi Lee on party-line votes, with 11 “yes” votes each.
In a tense and partisan atmosphere, the Senate Judiciary Committee voted to issue subpoenas in an ethics probe involving conservative donor Harlan Crow and activist Leonard Leo.
Partisan walkout, controversial subpoenas in Senate judiciary committee
The move drew strong objections from Republicans, leading to a walkout during the proceedings.
Despite the controversies, the subpoenas are mainly symbolic, and the partisan tensions continue to roil the committee.