Fix the Court’s support of Draft Advisory Opinion No. 117 by the Judicial Conference Committee on Codes of Conduct has been submitted to the third branch in the form of a public comment. A link to the comment is here.
Our view can be summarized as follows:
The American Constitution Society and the Federalist Society are two of the most recognizable legal societies in the country. They are also seen as representing the two opposite poles of our politics, and that perception, as the draft opinion states, matters.
The organizations do, of course, foster useful dialogue that judges should remain a part of – but not as card-carrying members.
It should be noted that the opinion does not seek to suppress judges’ voices.
As the opinion itself states, “[T]he Committee has never suggested, and does not now suggest, that the organizations act improperly or that their goals and missions are inappropriate. [They] are respected organizations that provide welcome services and benefits to their members. Participation in events hosted by these organizations through speaking engagements, panel discussions, attendance, and the like, as discussed below, is broadly permissible under the Code of Conduct for United States Judges.”
The Committee simply advises that future participation by judges occurs without the judges first declaring themselves ACS judges or FedSoc judges.
Instead, they should recommit themselves to publicly demonstrating that they are independent jurists.