We expect our courts to be impartial and independent – it’s essential to the public’s faith in the judicial system. That’s why federal judges must adhere to a Code of Conduct that requires judges to “act at all times in a manner that promotes public confidence in the integrity and impartiality of the judiciary” and explicitly bans political activity.
Shockingly, these rules do not apply to the Supreme Court.
Likewise, when it comes to deciding whether or not to sit on a case in which his or her impartiality has been called into question, a Supreme Court justice accused of bias has the final say – there’s no consultation, no explanation, and no appeal.
Protecting against even the appearance of bias is particularly important for the Supreme Court, as its justices are subject to the most public scrutiny and their decisions have the widest impacts. Recent activities by Supreme Court justices have called their impartiality and independence into question, undermining public confidence in our highest court.
Tell Congress to hold hearings on judicial ethics. It’s high time that justices of the Supreme Court had to follow the same ethical rules as every other federal judge.
More than 100 ethics and professional responsibility law professors have signed a letter to the House and Senate Judiciary Committees, calling for Congressional hearings to examine this issue and for legislation that would close the gap between the ethical standards applied to lower court judges and Supreme Court justices. Click here to learn more about Supreme Court ethics reform.
Supreme Court justices should not be above ethical rules. Join us and tell your representatives in Congress that the same rules that apply to all other federal judges should apply to Supreme Court justices!