Roberts Court rejection of code of ethics for high court is disappointing

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  • Dale Eisman

It is disappointing that Chief Justice John Roberts has informed Congress that the high court does not plan to adopt the same code of ethics that binds all other federal courts, Common Cause said Tuesday.

“The Supreme Court is the highest court in our land and should be held to the highest ethics standards, not the lowest,” said Common Cause President Bob Edgar. “This is yet another disappointing sign from the Roberts Court that it considers itself above the laws and rules the rest of us must operate under.”

Edgar’s comments came in response to a Feb. 17 letter from Roberts made public Tuesday by the Senate Judiciary Committee

Edgar noted that Roberts’ year-end report suggested that the Court will not adopt the Code of Conduct for U.S. Judges in part because the Code “does not adequately answer some of the ethical considerations unique to the Supreme Court.”

“Even conceding that point, there’s no reason the Court can’t formally embrace the code as, to use the chief justice’s own language, ‘a key starting point’ for its consideration of ethical questions.” Edgar said. “In doing so, it would send the public and the legal community a message that the Justices understand the importance of setting and adhering to a clear and coherent set of ethical standards.