The Wall Street Journal reports:
Sens. Angus King (I., Maine) and Lisa Murkowski (R., Alaska) will introduce a bipartisan bill Wednesday that would require the U.S. Supreme Court to create its own code of conduct within a year, following media reports that raise questions about whether Justices Clarence Thomas and Neil Gorsuch properly disclosed their financial activities.
“It’s pitiful that we’re having to introduce this bill—it’s pathetic that the Supreme Court hasn’t done this itself,” Mr. King said.
The senator, who caucuses with the Democrats, noted that every other federal judge is subject to a code of conduct. “And by the way, we’re not prescribing what the standard should be,” Mr. King said. “We’re just saying, ‘Do it yourself, and then be sure that there’s someone to keep track of it and that there’s some transparency in reporting.’”
The King-Murkowski bill is more modest than legislation introduced in February by Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D., R.I.) and Rep. Hank Johnson (D., Ga.), which in addition to requiring the court to adopt a code of conduct would tighten disclosure and recusal requirements for justices and for interest groups that file briefs with the court. It also would establish an investigative board made up of the chief judges of each circuit to review complaints against justices. [Continue reading…]
Chief Justice John Roberts has declined an invitation from Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, to testify before the panel, calling such testimony by chief justices “exceedingly rare.”
The Senate panel had planned to hold a hearing on May 2 to examine what Durbin called “common sense proposals” to hold Supreme Court justices to the same ethical standards as the rest of the federal judiciary, and Durbin had invited Roberts “or his designate” to take part. [Continue reading…]