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Ten or Eleven Fix the Court Goals for 2023

It’s good to have goals, right? There’s no need to be pollyannish about, say, ending SCOTUS life tenure tomorrow, but there are several pursuits that, if successful, would make the judiciary more open and accountable, 10-11 of which are listed below.

1. By the end of Q1, ensure the judiciary’s financial disclosures database includes at least 95% of federal judges’ 2021 reports (as of this week only about one-quarter, or just over 600, of the 2,400+ judges’ disclosures have been posted)

2. By the end of the year, get the “free PACER” bill, the Open Courts Act, reintroduced and passed through at least one house of Congress (here’s how close we got last month)

3. Ensure that every federal appeals court, including SCOTUS, continues livestreaming into 2024 (current status here; we’re 14 for 14 as of today)

4. Work with the Senate Judiciary Committee to hold two critical hearings: one on strategies for ending harassment in the judiciary and enacting new laws to give victims stronger protections, and one on the erstwhile influence campaign that targeted SCOTUS (new reporting on the latter in the New York Times and Insider)

5. Work with lawmakers to include more transparency and enforcement mechanisms in the biennial Supreme Court Ethics Act and secure reintroduction of the Supreme Court Ethics, Recusal and Transparency Act

6. Convince one circuit’s worth of judges to sell off all of their stocks

7. Bring the left and right together on (a) a judiciary inspector general (Sen. Grassley has wanted a judiciary-wide one; Reps. Johnson and Connolly have suggested one for the AO), (b) a judiciary CIO and (c) a proposal to consolidate all cases seeking nationwide injunctions into a single district court (likely the D.C. District)

8. Work with lawmakers to ensure oversight of the two judiciary-wide workplace conduct surveys scheduled to begin this year

9. Through FOIA requests, source cultivation and research, gather actionable information on the justices’ and lower court judges’ frequent/free travel

10. Reach a consensus on a term limits bill among reform-minded groups and lawmakers (most everyone agrees on 18 years with biennial appointments, but there remains some disagreement on how and when to use senior justices and how to fix the McConnell-Garland problem)

BONUS: Have at least one month go by where FTC doesn’t have to update this document on the justices’ ethics lapses and at least six months go by where FTC doesn’t have to update this one on the justices’ missed recusals

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