WATCH: ‘Judges ought to be angry’ over Supreme Court ‘crisis of legitimacy,’ Blumenthal says

Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., said on Tuesday hearing that Americans increasingly see the Supreme Court justices as “politicians in robes,” and that it’s unfair that those justices may seem not to hold themselves to the same disclosure standards as other federal judges.

During the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing into Supreme Court ethics, the senator criticized Chief Justice John Roberts’ rejection of an invitation to testify as “judicial malpractice.”

“It is a disservice to the courts, to his colleagues, who sit there every day – sometimes in danger, physically – and always under the microscope of public scrutiny,” Blumenthal said.

He then asked retired Judge Jeremy Fogel if he agrees with Blumenthal’s assessment that other judges in lower courts should be “angry and fearful” about the ways that a “crisis of legitimacy” for the Supreme Court is affecting the judiciary overall.

“I think that it would be… very good for public confidence – and for the confidence of the judicial rank and file that you were talking about – if the court were more assertive in standing for ethical compliance,” Fogel said. He added that he believes the court is capable of taking that task on, and that he thinks “some judges are frustrated that that hasn’t happened.”

Blumenthal also called for the Department of Justice to conduct a “proper investigation” into whether Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas committed potential violations of disclosure laws. In the absence of that investigation, he said, Congress has a role to play.

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