Supreme Court Ethics | New NY 23rd

The judges, both of the supreme and lesser Courts, shall hold their Offices during good Behavior, … –Article III, Section 1 of The Constitution.

Congress “indisputably has the power under the Constitution” to “enact laws prescribing the ethical standards applicable to the nonjudicial conduct and activities of the Supreme Court of the United States.” — J. Michael Luttig, retired appeals court judge

How low can the court go? The highest court in the land should not have the lowest ethical standards. — Senator Richard J. Durbin (D-IL)

All members of the court do in fact consult the code of conduct in assessing their ethical obligations,” he wrote, adding: “Every justice seeks to follow high ethical standards, and the Judicial Conference’s code of conduct provides a current and uniform source of guidance designed with specific reference to the needs and obligations of the federal judiciary. — Chief Justice Roberts in 2011

Are reports of questionable behavior by supposedly conservative judges “an unseemly effort” to “delegitimize the Roberts court,” as asserted by Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC), or are they obvious examples of bad behavior.

The Constitution fails to define good behavior or provide any remedy other than impeachment. The Constitution implies that there should be a Chief Justice, but grants no power over the other Justices. The Chief Justice has been described as “the first among equals.”

Congress could attempt by law to impose ethical standards on the Justices. Paradoxically, the Court could rule against that. Could the Court remove a Justice for bad behavior? It never has done that.

Read more here.

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