On Monday, the Supreme Court unexpectedly issued an ethical Code of Conduct that all nine Justices have agreed to adhere to. The introduction to the Code states:
The undersigned Justices are promulgating this Code of Conduct to set out succinctly and gather in one place the ethics rules and principles that guide the conduct of the Members of the Court. For the most part these rules and principles are not new: The Court has long had the equivalent of common law ethics rules, that is, a body of rules derived from a variety of sources, including statutory provisions, the code that applies to other members of the federal judiciary, ethics advisory opinions issued by the Judicial Conference Committee on Codes of Conduct, and historic practice. The absence of a Code, however, has led in recent years to the misunderstanding that the Justices of this Court, unlike all other jurists in this country, regard themselves as unrestricted by any ethics rules. To dispel this misunderstanding, we are issuing this Code, which largely represents a codification of principles that we have long regarded as governing our conduct.
The Court acknowledges there are a few areas it can improve upon, but those concerns are minor in the grand scheme of things. Dan McLaughlin explains:
The Court notes only a few issues that may require it to do better, flagging in particular that “some district courts and courts of appeals have deployed software to run automated recusal checks on new case filings.” Regarding this, “the Court will assess whether it needs additional resources in its Clerk’s Office or Office of Legal Counsel to perform initial and ongoing review of recusal and other ethics issues.” It will also “consider whether amendments to its rules on the disclosure obligations of parties and counsel may be advisable.”
As Carrie Severino points out, it is doubtful that the Court's ethics code will satisfy calls from the radical Left to impose unworkable ethical standards on the Justices: "their campaign has never really been about ethics but rather intimidating a Court that it despises for being faithful to the Constitution."
I doubt this Code will satisfy Senate Democrats and their liberal dark-money backers, as their campaign has never really been about ethics but rather intimidating a Court that it despises for being faithful to the Constitution. https://t.co/PgObBw0evF— Carrie Severino (@JCNSeverino) November 13, 2023
What will likely sting the critics is that there is no provision for any of this to be enforced by anybody else short of impeachment by Congress or criminal prosecution in an extreme case (such as that of a justice who accepts bribes). But the same can be said of the Senate and the House: They are responsible for the discipline of their own members. True, the justices (unlike members of Congress) have life tenure, don’t face reelection, and are part of a body too small to do much to discipline a rogue member even if a majority thinks it appropriate. But a justice who loses the respect of his or her colleagues has already lost much of his or her power.
RNLA will host a webinar this Friday, November 17th at 2:00 p.m. eastern to discuss the Court's new code of conduct and the Left's attacks on conservative Justices to asperse the legitimacy of the Court. Register here!