The New York County Lawyers Association Task Force on the Supreme Court of the United States this week issued this statement:
We are pleased to note that two of our colleague bar associations have joined NYCLA’s call for the Supreme Court of the United States to be subject to a code of ethics. In April we adopted a report calling for the Supreme Court to subject itself to the same Code of Conduct and other ethical rules as the rest of the federal judiciary. If not, we advocated that Congress do it for them, legislatively. There have been far too many incidents recently in which the justices’ ethical standards have been called into reasonable question, creating a crisis of confidence in the Court and it’s ability to render unbiased justice.
The American Bar Association, at its recent annual meeting in Denver, adopted an ABA Task Force report that among other things also recommended the adoption of a Code of Ethics for the Supreme Court. And, earlier this week, the City Bar issued a statement calling out “the plummeting level of public trust in the United States Supreme Court.” The City Bar statement also asked for the Code of Conduct for United States Judges to be applied to the Supreme Court as well, to avoid a result that is “both shameful and a continuing threat to the rule of law.” The City Bar statement referred favorably, as did our report, to Senator Sheldon Whitehouse’s Senate Bill 359, the Supreme Court Ethics, Recusal and Transparency Act of 2023.
We applaud our colleague bar associations, and look forward to working with them to achieve the important goal of convincing the Supreme Court, or Congress, to impose ethical rules on the nine justices, who apparently do not realize how sorely they need such rules.
Dated: August 23, 2023
The New York County Lawyers Association
Task Force on the Supreme Court of the United States
Morrell I. Berkowitz
Brian D. Graifman
James B. Kobak, Jr.
Adrienne B. Koch
Richard P. Swanson