Sen. Arlen Specter, the Republican-turned-Democrat veteran Pennsylvania senator whose long Senate career ended with a failed reelection bid, gave his final speech on the floor of the Senate this week – and his words included a sharp jab at two conservative members of the U.S. Supreme Court.
Specter, who once chaired the Senate Judiciary Committee as a Republican, took aim at Bush appointees Chief Justice John G. Roberts and Justice Samuel Alito in his swan song speech, accusing them of “eroding the constitutional mandate of separation of powers,” Politico reports.
Although Specter voted in favor of both justices as a member of the Judiciary Committee, he criticized their votes in cases such as Citizens United v. FEC, which relaxed rules governing campaign contributions by corporations.
“Ignoring a massive congressional record and reversing recent decisions, Chief Justice Roberts and Justice Alito repudiated their confirmation testimony given under oath and provided the key votes to permit corporations and unions to secretly pay for political advertising – thus effectively undermining the basic Democratic principle of the power of one person, one vote,” said Specter. “Chief Justice Roberts promised to just call balls and strikes and then he moved the bases.”
Specter said it was part of a pattern of conservative justices saying one thing during their confirmation hearings and doing another on the bench.
“The Supreme Court has been eating Congress’ lunch by invalidating legislation with judicial activism after nominees commit under oath in confirmation proceedings to respect congressional fact finding and precedents,” Specter said.