Senate Judiciary Committee May Issue Subpoenas To GOP Donors Connected To Supreme Court Justices

The committee could vote as early as Nov. 9 to issue subpoenas to GOP donors Harlan Crow and Robin Arkley II, as well as legal activist, Leonard Leo.

The Senate Judiciary Committee will vote on issuing subpoenas to two well-known Republican donors and a conservative legal activist, CBS News reported. 

The subpoenas may be issued for GOP donors Harlan Crow and Robin Arkley II, as well as co-chairman of the board of directors of the Federalist Society, Leonard Leo. The subpoenas are being voted on for their involvement with luxury trips gifted to two Supreme Court justices, revealed during the summer of 2023.

Leo played a key role in the confirmations of current Supreme Court justices. Judiciary Committee Chairman Dick Durbin and Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse announced on Oct. 30 that the panel could vote as soon as Nov. 9. In a joint statement, Durbin and his Democratic committee members said it is “imperative that we understand the full extent of how people with interests before the Court are able to use undisclosed gifts to gain private access to the justices.”

“By accepting these lavish, undisclosed gifts, the justices have enabled their wealthy benefactors and other individuals with business before the court to gain access to the justices while preventing public scrutiny of this conduct,” the joint statement said. 

The vote is all up to Democrats as over ten members of the Judiciary panel on the blue side of the aisle have the authorization to give the subpoenas without Republican support. Committee members on the GOP side have accused Democrats of targeting conservative justices since decisions have been made on controversial issues including abortion, affirmative action, guns, and religious rights.

Democratic committee members have been on the prowl for information from Crow, Arkley, and Leo since news outlet ProPublica highlighted ties between Justices Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito with the donors. 

ProPublica reported that Thomas accepted lavish trips on Crow’s private plane and yacht and spent vacations at his Adirondacks resort during their 25-year friendship. However, Thomas failed to report the gifts on his financial disclosure forms. His most recent disclosure form, filed in August, included details about a 2014 real estate transaction with Crow for three properties he purchased from Thomas and his family in Georgia. It was reported that Arkley, who owns a mortgage company, provided Justice Alito lodging for a luxury fishing trip in Alaska in 2008.  Alito didn’t disclose the trip – including the housing or traveling on a private jet – and noted that the trip didn’t need to be reported, citing exceptions for personal hospitality. 

Republican senators feel issuing a subpoena is an unfair attack seeking to undermine the high court because of decisions that Democrats have disagreed with, according to Roll Call.