AFJ Praises Senators for Calling for Supreme Court to Adopt Ethics Code
Press ContactKevin Fry email@example.com
Washington, D.C., February 15, 2012—Alliance for Justice President Nan Aron issued the following statement in the wake of the release of a letter from Senators Durbin, Leahy, Whitehouse, Franken, and Blumenthal to Chief Justice John Roberts calling on him to publicly release information about the nature of ethics rules and standards currently adopted by the Supreme Court, and urging the justices to “adopt a resolution … stating that Members of the Court abide by the Code of Conduct.” (A copy of the senators’ letter is available here.)
Alliance for Justice is extremely gratified that five members of the Senate Judiciary Committee have written to Chief Justice John Roberts to ask the Supreme Court to formally adopt the same Code of Conduct that applies to all other federal judges. This request echoes a similar one made in January by 11 national organizations, including Alliance for Justice, and is part of a growing groundswell of demands for reform of the Court’s approach to ethics, particularly in the wake of unresolved concerns about the behavior of some justices that seems to violate core principles embodied in the Code, including bans on political activity and prohibitions on active participation in fundraising.
The Code of Conduct currently applies to all federal jurists, except Supreme Court justices, but there is no barrier to the Court voluntarily, formally, and publically adopting it as binding on all justices. With persistent questions swirling around the activities of several justices, with public attention focused on the Court in a year with potential blockbuster decisions, and with a growing national movement for more accountability and transparency in all levels of government, now is the time for the Court to once and for all clarify the ethical strictures that govern its behavior. The senators’ call for the Court to adopt the Code and to explain any other ethical rules it has adopted, is an essential step in restoring public confidence in our most important legal institution.
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Extensive background materials on Supreme Court ethics rules and current controversies are available for download at www.aquestionofintegrity.org. The issue is also discussed in AFJ’s short documentary film, A Question of Integrity: Politics, Ethics, and the Supreme Court, which can be viewed online.
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Alliance for Justice is a national association of over 100 organizations, representing a broad array of groups committed to progressive values and the creation of an equitable, just, and free society. AFJ works to ensure that the federal judiciary advances core constitutional values, preserves human rights and unfettered access to the courts, and adheres to the even-handed administration of justice for all Americans. It is the leading expert on the legal framework for nonprofit advocacy efforts, providing definitive information, resources, and technical assistance that encourages organizations and their funding partners to fully exercise their right to be active participants in the democratic process. AFJ is based in Washington, D.C.