By Tyler Cooper, FTC senior researcher
The bill would eliminate the loophole that has left Supreme Court justices exempt from any formalized code of conduct by requiring the Judicial Conference to promulgate an ethics code for the entire judiciary, including SCOTUS, within a year of the bill’s enactment.
Supreme Court justices serve lifetime appointments with no meaningful checks on their exercise of public power. There is simply no compelling reason to have a system that demands less from those at the apex of the federal judiciary than it does from those at every other level.
The justices are fond of saying things like they “consider themselves” bound by the Code of Conduct for U.S. Judges, which is all the more reason for Congress to codify what is already considered to be a norm.
The Supreme Court Ethics Act ensures that the ethical guardrails at the Supreme Court will no longer be reliant on the whims of its members, and we hope to see it advance this Congress.