Warren Unveils New Bill Binding Supreme Court Judges to Ethics Code

As public trust in Supreme Court rapidly erodesDemocrats in Congress are working hard to tighten ethics laws surrounding federal courts and increase transparency to combat corruption in the U.S. judiciary system.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D. Massachusetts), Rep. Pramila Japal (D. Washington). introduced a billTuesday’s legislation would prohibit federal judges from trading individual stock stocks to avoid conflicts and increase restrictions on gifts and private-funded events.

The Judicial Ethics and Anti-Corruption Act has several provisions that specifically target the Supreme Court. It would create a binding requirement for judges in the Supreme Court to adhere to the court’s Code of Conduct. The Supreme Court is the country’s only court. isn’t bound by the ethics guidelinesCourt watchdogs claim that all nine judges are guilty of some form of oversight.

“At a time when public trust in the Supreme Court has collapsed to historic lows, it’s critical that we enact legislation to reform this broken system,” Warren said in a statement. “From banning federal judges from owning individual stocks to overhauling the broken judicial recusal process, my bill would help root out corruption and restore public trust in the federal judiciary – something that Chief Justice [John] Roberts has simply failed to do.”

The bill would require Supreme Court judges to issue a written recusal decision if a litigant requests it. The Judicial Conference, which oversees federal court systems, would issue advisory opinions on recusal. These provisions could work to ensure that judges on the High Court are held to higher account when they don’t recuse themselves from cases in which they may hold personal biases or conflicts of interest.

This provision is especially relevant for current applications. Judge Clarence Thomas, who has been under increased scrutiny due to his wife’s role in the far right’s attemptTo overturn the 2020 presidential election. Jayapal Warren have previously requestedThomas be excused from cases relating or relating to the attempted coup of January 6th, or any other related cases.

The legislation has been cosponsored by 13 House representatives and six senators. This legislation is long overdue and could help eliminate ethics concerns and increase public confidence in our courts.

The bill would also improve disclosure requirements concerning case assignments and bar courts sealing case records relating public health or safety.

“The American people have lost faith in the federal judiciary,” said Noah Bookbinder, president of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), in a statement. CREW is just one of many progressive and watchdog organizations to have endorsed this legislation. “The Judicial Ethics and Anti-Corruption Act goes a long way to fixing that, taking immediate steps to end financial conflicts of interest and overhauling the Supreme Court’s broken judicial recusal regime. A judicial system that is viewed with suspicion is an obstacle to democracy. It is past time for Congress to act to rebuild trust in our judicial system and make clear that judges are not above the law.”

Warren and Jayapal’s proposal comes at a time in which public trust in the Supreme Court is falling. Last year, the Supreme Court’s public approval ratingGallup polling shows that the trust level has fallen below 50 percent. This trust has been especially eroded in recent months – a new poll released TuesdayBy Yahoo News/YouGov found that 53 percent Americans have little or no trust in the Supreme Court. This stands in sharp contrast to a September 2020 poll, taken just after Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s death, in which only 30 percent of voters said they didn’t have much trust in the court.

Between the 2020 poll and the most current poll, Republicans have gained a supermajority on the Supreme Court. They have taken radical steps to overturn the Constitution since then. Roe v. WadeA leaked draft opinion of the Court suggests that conservative judges are well-placed to do this.