With life tenure, ample time off and three dozen of the smartest law graduates in the country helping them write their opinions, being a Supreme Court justice is not a bad gig.
In fact, the justices have traveled the world during their summer break – which still has a month left. Ruth Bader Ginsburg visited Spain and Italy, Clarence Thomas taught in France and Sonia Sotomayor was in Alaska.
At Fix the Court, we figure that with all these perks, the least the justices could do is allow live audio of their hearings or promise to follow the same ethics and stock rules as officials in the other two branches. Right?
We do believe we’re getting somewhere, though, as there’s no question that awareness of the issues that plague the court is at an all-time high. Look at all the interest paid to term limits (or lack thereof) after Justice Scalia’s death and all the reporting on the justices’ ethics code (or lack thereof) following Justice Ginsburg’s comments on the presidential race.
There’s more. After we caught Chief Justice Roberts in a stock conflict last winter, three justices divested from more than $1.5 million from their portfolios. This spring the ABA adopted a resolution supporting cameras in the courtroom, and the Washington Post endorsed ending life tenure. Last month, a congressional hearing featured a bipartisan, full-throated critique of how the judiciary’s ethics, disclosure and travel policies fail to comport with modern expectations of openness.
This is what momentum looks like. Will you help keep it going by taking one of the actions on this page?
In the coming months and into the new Congress, Fix the Court will press the judicial and legislative branches to advance this promise of greater transparency. We hope you will help us.