The nine justices of the Supreme Court are the only federal judges not bound by the Code of Conduct for U.S. Judges, which goes beyond the basic ethics laws enacted after Watergate and creates uniformity around thorny issues like recusals and participation in political activities.
Research compiled from Fix the Court points out that while none of the justices has committed a removal offense, all nine of them are culpable of various ethical oversights, from leaving assets off their annual financial disclosure reports to speaking at partisan fundraisers to ruling on cases despite credible conflicts of interest.
While the justices could easily and formally adopt the code tomorrow if they so choose, legal scholars believe that since Congress can legislate institutional changes to the high court, it may use its statutory authority to compel acceptance of the code, and we support that effort.
We applaud Sen. Warren's proposal, which, if passed, would vastly improve transparency and accountability in the federal judiciary.