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News on the Audio, Video, Term Limits and Disclosures Fronts

With a brief respite on opinions, here are some transparency-related matters that FTC has been working on:

1. Out today is our semiannual “judiciary policies” listingcomprising every circuit’s approach to audio, video, judicial wellness and (new this time) workplace conduct. This version notes a few steps forward – and backwards – on audio and video, but several positive moves on wellness and conduct.

2. FTC senior researcher Tyler Cooper has an op-ed for Bloomberg Law about how SCOTUS term limits could happen legislatively. The nut graf: “The founders knowingly circumscribed minimal guidance for the third branch, allowing it to be adjusted to fit the needs of the nation (cf., omitting judicial review and the notion of senior judges). A time when the high court’s legitimacy is questioned, as it is now, is a time to make an adjustment,” i.e., with 18-year term limits for future justices.

3. SCOTUS financial disclosures will likely be out a week from Thursday. To quote Justice Alito from March, “As a practical matter, they are available online almost as soon as they are released to the public. There are private groups that request all of the financial disclosure forms of the justices, […] and as soon as they obtain them, they put them online.” FTC has again requested them in thumb-drive form, though we’d prefer it if the U.S. Courts posted them online – and those of all Article III judges – themselves.

Either way, here’s this year’s URL, with links to previous year’s reports. New this year will be a year-over-year stock comparison from the three stock-owning justices (Roberts, Breyer and Alito), who have shed nearly half their shares since FTC was founded – and hopefully more.

We have two other disclosure-related pieces of news, but we’ll hold those until next week!

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