FTC executive director Gabe Roth released this statement following news that Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg presided over a gay marriage on May 17:
Justice Ginsburg’s decision to officiate at a same-sex marriage over the weekend was a poor one ethically – and by her own earlier admission. In March 2013 she said she hadn’t yet presided over such a marriage because she didn’t want to welcome calls for recusal should a related case reach the high court. She did anyway later that year, and another marriage case was argued last month. She did not sit that one out.
Even though the justices’ votes have been tallied in Obergefell v. Hodges, and Chief Justice Roberts has assigned the opinions, no decision has officially been rendered, meaning that Ginsburg should have done more to avoid the appearance of bias and should have recused herself from the ceremony on Sunday.
Her actions demonstrate why the justices should formally adopt the Code of Conduct for U.S. Judges – or why Congress should step in and require they do.
Fix the Court does not take a position on specific Supreme Court cases and is encouraged that both sides of ideological spectrum support a number of institutional reforms.