(Washington) The nine justices of the US Supreme Court, who face harsh criticism, especially over the behavior of some of its more conservative members, adopted a code of conduct on Monday.
Most legal commentators immediately noted that the nine-page code of conduct, which was posted on the court’s website, did not provide any penalty or enforcement mechanism.
The nine judges appointed for life by the sitting president — currently six conservatives and three progressives — are the only federal judges not subject to an explicit code of conduct.
In a press release on the first page of this document, the nine justices, all signatories to the text, emphasized that “these rules and principles are, for the most part, not new.”
Explaining the publication of this blog, they add: “But the absence of a blog has led in recent years to a misunderstanding that the judges of this court, unlike all other jurists in the country, consider themselves exempt from any moral rule.” “To clear up this misunderstanding.”
In particular, influential Democratic Senator Dick Durbin, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, has been campaigning for months to adopt a binding ethics code for Supreme Court justices.
In addition to the very general principles, particularly regarding conflicts of interest, the document published on Monday sets out rules regarding participation in public events or accepting gifts.
The two most conservative justices, Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito, were chosen because of the largesse they received from Republican billionaires, including in the form of trips or residencies.
Democratic Senator Sheldon Whitehouse of the Judiciary Committee welcomed in a press release the “long-awaited action from the justices” of the Supreme Court.
“The rules of ethics are not binding without a mechanism to investigate potential violations and enforce the rules,” he stressed, calling for his text submitted to the Senate to be adopted before the Supreme Court.
Popularity and trust in this crucial institution of American democracy have declined to unprecedented levels over the past two years, especially because the conservative majority overthrew the pillars of liberal American society in the 1960s and 1970s, starting with the law. In June 2022.
Only 41% of Americans approved of the Supreme Court’s decision, according to a Gallup poll published at the end of September.
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