Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and other Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee threatened during a Thursday hearing to subpoena left-wing activist groups to testify amid efforts by Democrats to investigate Associate Justice Clarence Thomas.
Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Dick Durbin announced Tuesday that the committee would vote on Thursday to subpoena Harlan Crow, a billionaire real estate developer, and Leonard Leo, the co-chairman of The Federalist Society, to testify about their relationships with Thomas, who has been accused in a series of investigative reports by ProPublica of unethically accepting gifts from Crow. While the vote on the subpoenas was abruptly canceled, Graham and his colleagues vowed that Republicans would propose subpoenas to left-wing groups in response.
“You better eat breakfast next Thursday, ’cause you’re not going anywhere,” Graham said, referring to the committee’s next meeting on Nov. 9. “You’re trying to create a political issue that I think crosses constitutional boundaries. There are cases on the books that legislative subpoenas have to have a valid purpose. So we’ll have a bunch of subpoenas to answer your subpoena.”
Graham singled out “Demand Justice,” a left-wing activist group that seeks to expand the Supreme Court. He accused them of being funded by Democratic Party interests, which he indicated he would investigate when Republicans regain a majority in the Senate.
“Demand Justice. Remember them? They’re under the Arabella [Advisors] umbrella. I don’t know who gives them all this money,” Graham said. “They were out trashing J. Michelle Childs, who I was going to support for the Supreme Court … somebody from the left with a lot of money wanted to make it on the court,” he noted, referring to a U.S. Appellate Judge on the District of Columbia Circuit who was under consideration by President Joe Biden for elevation to the Supreme Court, but who was ultimately passed over for Ketanji Brown Jackson.
Republican Sen. Tom Cotton of Arkansas described some of the groups that his party would seek to subpoena for testimony if Democrats proceeded with their subpoenas of Crow and Leo.
“The shoe will be on the other foot one day. Go issue that subpoena. See what happens. When we take back the majority, see the subpoenas we start to issue for all the left-wing activists and billionaires who are behind all of your agitprop campaigns, who probably helped fund those left-wing stoop militias outside justices’ homes, who helped fund the antisemitic wing of the Democratic Party, protesting on college campuses, and even in this Capitol complex,” Cotton said.
“You’ve tried to destroy Clarence Thomas, like every time we turn around,” Graham said, adding that “from here on out, this committee is going to operate differently.”
“This is a fight you wanted. You’re gonna get it.”
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