Supreme Court Issues Ethics Code for Justices

The Supreme Court issued an ethics code that seeks to put restrictions into place for the justices of the Supreme Court, in light of recent events. Concerns in regard to unregulated trips and other actions taken by justices, Samuel Alito (he/him) and Clarence Thomas (he/him), have brought up tense discussion and debate in observing the ethics of unregulated and unmonitored activity that justices engage in. This move is unprecedented as nothing like it has ever been attempted to be put into place in the past.

Critics of the new Supreme Court ethics code argue that without proper enforcing, it will not produce the desired outcome or even have any improvement at all. Many praise the idea while still being extremely wary of the execution and what will be needed to enforce it. One lead sponsor in this process, Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (he/him)(D-RI), stated, “This is a long-overdue step by the justices, but a code of ethics is not binding unless there is a mechanism to investigate possible violations and enforce the rules…” The Ethics Code outlines some of its purposes as making it a requirement to “uphold the integrity and independence of the judiciary” and “avoid impropriety and the appearance of impropriety in all activities.” People have criticized these statements as vague and have pointed out the difficulty that may arise when trying to enforce it. Senator Dick Durbin (he/him)(D-IL), said that these statements were “important steps, but they fall short of what we could and should expect…” The overwhelming consensus to the Ethics Code being established is that while on paper it is exactly what is needed in the Supreme Court, in reality it will remain something that continues to be very difficult to properly enforce and put into real practice.

The Supreme Court Issues an Ethics Code of Conduct. (Collection of the Supreme Court of the United States via getty images)


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