Showing posts with label #JudicialIntegrity. Show all posts
Showing posts with label #JudicialIntegrity. Show all posts

Wednesday, May 3, 2023

Restoring Trust: The Urgent Need for Ethics Reform in the Supreme Court.

Judge J. Michael Luttig, 2005.
Work of Dept. of Labor, Public Domain.
via Wikimedia Commons. 
The New York Times' Abbie VanSickle reports on the recent Senate Judiciary Committee hearing, where retired conservative Judge J. Michael Luttig joined legal experts in urging Congress to establish new ethical standards for Supreme Court justices. This call to action comes in light of recent revelations about undisclosed gifts, luxury travel, and property deals involving justices. Judge Luttig contends that Congress has the constitutional power to enact laws prescribing ethical standards for the nonjudicial conduct of Supreme Court justices.

The hearing saw heated debates between Republicans and Democrats on the necessity of such ethical standards. Democrats argued an ethical code is essential to prevent misconduct and conflicts within the Supreme Court. Meanwhile, Judge Luttig and other legal experts emphasized the importance of upholding the highest ethical standards to maintain the public's trust in the institution.

Regrettably, recent revelations involving justices such as Clarence Thomas and Neil M. Gorsuch have highlighted the lack of reporting requirements and the self-policing nature of the justices, sparking increased calls for the establishment of an ethics code. Although all nine justices signed a "statement of ethics principles and practices" outlining their general ethical standards, many argue that this is insufficient and advocate for more stringent measures.

A Marist poll from last week reveals that 62% of Americans lack confidence in the Supreme Court, with only 37% expressing a great deal or quite a lot of confidence in the institution. This marks the lowest level of confidence in the Court since 2018, when 59% reported having faith in the institution. The ongoing debate on ethics reform within the Supreme Court highlights the need to restore public trust in this vital institution.

In light of the most recent series of revelations about undisclosed gifts, luxury travel, and property deals, it is clear that the time has come to establish and enforce ethical guidelines that will preserve the integrity of the Supreme Court. The Republican-dominated court has significantly undermined confidence and eroded the public's respect for the institution, which has come to define Americans' belief in their judicial system. An ethics code is not only necessary but also a step towards safeguarding the rule of law in America.