Conservative activist rejects Senate Dem demand for help in Supreme Court probe: ‘Political retaliation’

FIRST ON FOX: Conservative activist Leonard Leo today told Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee he will “not be part” of their investigation into the travel habits of conservative Supreme Court justices and cited the Bill of Rights and liberal hypocrisy as reasons. “Your investigation of Mr. Leo infringes two provisions of the Bill of Rights,” lawyers for Leonard Leo wrote in a letter to Democratic senators Sheldon Whitehouse and Dick Durbin, which was obtained by Fox News Digital. “By selectively targeting Mr. Leo for investigation on a politically charged basis, while ignoring other potential sources of information on the asserted topic of interest who are similarly situated to Mr. Leo but have different political views that are more consistent with those of the Committee majority, your inquiry appears to be political retaliation against a private citizen in violation of the First Amendment,” they wrote. This month, Whitehouse and Durbin sent a letter to Leo and billionaires Paul Singer and Robin Arkley II demanding more information regarding a ProPublica report that Alito “accepted and failed to disclose a luxury Alaskan fishing vacation” in 2008 with the two billionaires. Leo allegedly organized the trip. LEFT, MEDIA’S RACIAL ATTACKS ON CLARENCE THOMAS SPARK BIPARTISAN REBUKE The senators asked for an itemized list of gifts and payments from Leo or groups he is associated with dating back decades and related to any Supreme Court justice he has associated with. “To date, Chief Justice Roberts has barely acknowledged, much less investigated or sought to fix, the ethics crises swirling around our highest Court. So, if the Court won’t investigate or act, Congress must,” Whitehouse and Durbin said in a press release. “Answers to these questions will help the Committee’s work to create reliable ethics guardrails at the Court, under Congress’s clearly established oversight and legislative authority.” Leo’s lawyers responded by saying the Democrats’ request doesn’t comport with the First Amendment and other parts of the Constitution. FAR-LEFT REPORTER ACCUSED OF ‘WISHING DEATH’ ON SUPREME COURT JUSTICE: ‘TAKE HIM TO SEE THE TITANIC’ “For similar reasons, your inquiry cannot be reconciled with the Equal Protection component of the Due Process clause of the Fifth Amendment. And regardless of its other constitutional infirmities, it appears that your investigation lacks a valid legislative purpose, because the legislation the Committee is considering would be unconstitutional if enacted,” his lawyers said. The response also pointed out several examples of liberal Supreme Court justices accepting lavish trips, failing to recuse themselves from cases to which they had connections and accepting funds from undisclosed donors. The letter explains that former Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer took more than 200 trips “paid for by private individuals,” including a 2013 trip to a Nantucket compound that was paid for by a billionaire. In another instance, late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg accepted a $1 million award from a billionaire’s foundation and then dispersed that money to undisclosed liberal causes. “None of these incidents has resulted in inquiries from the Committee,” the letter from Leo’s attorneys stated. HERE’S WHY CLARENCE THOMAS IS ‘THE PEOPLE’S JUSTICE’ It also argued that Senate Democrats have an “extensive record of vilifying” Leo for his political advocacy through the Federalist Society and said it is “hard to conclude that the disparate treatment to which Mr. Leo is being subjected is the result of anything other than sheer vindictiveness motivated by politics.” The Federalist Society, which Leo has been a part of for decades, has long been criticized by liberal activists for its involvement in helping advise and lobby former President Trump through the nominations of Supreme Court Justices Gorsuch, Kavanaugh and Barrett using alleged “dark money.” ProPublica’s reporting in recent months on the travel habits of Alito and Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas has been widely criticized by conservatives who point out that many of the “experts” cited in the various articles have undisclosed ties to Democratic causes. Additionally, conservatives have called out ProPublica for being largely funded by organizations and donors who support liberal causes, including court packing and removing conservative justices from the court. Alito has defended himself against ProPublica’s reporting, and Leo has released a statement dismissing the idea that the fishing trip was somehow being kept from the public. “Justice Alito talked about this trip in front of dozens of journalists and over 2,000 people after being introduced by Paul Singer at a Federalist Society dinner fourteen years ago,” Leo said in a statement earlier this month. “Nobody questioned Justice Alito’s impartiality then, or thereafter.” Leo added that “the only thing that has changed over all these years is that ProPublica and its large pool of liberal dark money donors are having a hard time accepting the fact that they are now losing cases because there aren’t enough Justices around anymore to disregard the law and affirm their policy preferences.” Supporters of Thomas have insisted he broke no laws or ethics codes. A friend of his, former Trump OMB General CounseI Mark Paoletta, laid out the facts of the disclosures in a lengthy Twitter post in May. “This is politics,” said the Heritage Foundation’s Roger Severino, who served from 2017-2021 as director for the U.S. Department Health and Human Services Office for Civil Rights. In that position, Severino oversaw compliance with ethical rules including those regarding gifts. Leo has dealt with left wing-activists protesting in front of his home in recent days, including a protester who dressed up in an “angry uterus” costume. The letter from his lawyers said Whitehouse and Durbin are turning the Senate into a “platform of irresponsible sensationalism” where a person’s “right to hold unpopular beliefs” is “disregarded.” “We will not be part of that journey,” the letter concluded.
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