On November 13, the Supreme Court of the United States released a "code of conduct" that would seem to govern the behavior of its justices. Coming at the end of a year plagued with reporting on ethical lapses and missteps by these justices, Campaign Legal Center and others who have been long calling for such news should have seen cause to celebrate.
Rather, the "code" was largely seen as disappointing — a set of guidelines more than actual rules. Without any way to meaningfully enforce the rules laid out and frequently using the word "should" where similar ethical codes use "shall," it amounts to nothing more than a suggestion as to how those who sit atop our nation's highest court should behave.
At a time of mounting distrust in our federal government, this is unacceptable. It is critical that the highest court in our nation is held to at least the same ethical standards as the other branches of government and lower courts, and that justices are held accountable when they violate those standards.
That is why CLC and 24 partners wrote a letter to Chief Justice Roberts on November 17, calling on the Supreme Court to establish an internal ethics enforcement body that would provide guidance on and enforce this code to ensure the justices are held to the highest standards.
Read the letter here.