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Politics & Government

Sen. Whitehouse Urges Amy Coney Barrett To Take Up Reform Of Supreme Court Practices

Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., speaks during the third day of the Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearing for Supreme Court nominee Judge Amy Coney Barrett on Wednesday.
Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., speaks during the third day of the Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearing for Supreme Court nominee Judge Amy Coney Barrett on Wednesday.

Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, D.-R.I., urged Supreme Court nominee Judge Amy Coney Barrett to contemplate — and possibly act to end — a number of practices he called damaging to the federal judiciary and the Supreme Court.

Whitehouse, who used his time in Tuesday's hearing to lay out what he called the connections between dark-money groups and legal advocates that have helped support the revolution in the federal judiciary under President Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., made a simpler argument on Wednesday.

The wealthiest and most powerful clients and lawyers used their knowledge of legal practices at the highest levels, along with, in at least one case, signals by then-Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia about his readiness to overturn an existing precedent, in order to bring about a case that ultimately disposed of a doctrine they opposed, Whitehouse said.

He also suggested the Supreme Court might need to apply the same ethical guidelines in use at the appellate level — Barrett said she was surprised it already doesn't.

Watch the full exchange here:

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