In order for the American judicial system to function effectively within our democratic system, judges must be perceived as impartial, independent arbiters, guided by legal precepts rather than partisan or personal motives, and unencumbered by conflicts of interest. As the Code of Conduct for United States Judges explains, “An independent and honorable judiciary is indispensible to justice in our society.”
But the Supreme Court of the United States is not formally bound by the Code of Conduct that guides the behavior of all other federal judges, and its process for determining whether a justice has a conflict of interest requiring recusal from a case leaves the decision solely in the hands of the justice with the potential conflict.
A Question of Integrity: Politics, Ethics and the Supreme Court exposes evidence that some Supreme Court justices have attended overtly political meetings, have inappropriately lent their names to private fundraisers, have maintained financial and personal relationships with individuals and institutions that give rise to the appearance of impropriety, and have failed to disclose financial information required by federal law. Narrated by award-winning actor Edward James Olmos, this 15-minute film explores ways in which this problematic behavior raises questions about the need to formally apply the Code of Conduct to the Court, reform the recusal process, and enforce the Ethics in Government Act. Viewers are called to action in support of constitutionally appropriate legislative and procedural fixes, all of which are essential to preserve the integrity of our nation’s most important legal institution.
A Question of Integrity was honored with a 2012 Telly Awards, receiving a bronze award in the category of Non-Broadcast Productions – Charitable/Not-for-profit.
The Telly Awards honor excellence in non-broadcast and online video, as well as local, regional, and cable TV commercials. Bronze and silver awards are given in each category.