Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee have asked Chief Justice John Roberts to return and answer questions about SCOTUS’ ethics.
Democratic senators on the Judiciary Committee wrote:
On April 25, you sent a letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee declining an invitation to appear before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Supreme Court ethics issues. Although sitting justices have testified before Senate or House committees at least 92 times since 1960, it is noteworthy that no justice speaks to the American public after several revelations call into question the court’s ethical standards.
Your letter says “[i]I have attached a statement of ethical principles and practices to which all members of the Supreme Court subscribe regarding matters of judicial conduct. The Statement of Principles raises more questions than it resolves, and we ask that you respond to several key questions. Your answers will inform the committee’s work on rulemaking to ensure that the judiciary’s ethical obligations and duties are at least equal to those governing the rest of the federal judiciary and the federal government. We ask that you provide us with these answers by May 1, so that they can be discussed at the committee hearing the following day.
1. On what date did the judges subscribe to the statement of ethical principles and practices attached to your letter, and on what date did the judges subscribe to the previous ethical principles and practices? If so, please provide such a statement.
2. The Statement of Ethics Principles and Practices “[i]In the year In 1991, the members of the Court made a voluntary decision to follow the content of the Rules of the Judicial Conference. Does the court currently require unanimity among judges to make a decision to follow the content of the code of conduct?
3. The Statement of Ethical Principles and Practices states that “Justices, like other federal judges, consult various authorities to resolve various ethical issues.” What guidance do judges receive as to which authorities to recommend, and how is this process of deliberation and final decision in a particular case documented?
4. The statement of ethical principles and practices.[a]Any errors or omissions in the filing of financial disclosure reports shall be referred to the Financial Disclosure Committee by the Clerk of the Judicial Conference. The committee may send a letter of inquiry to the applicant, giving the applicant an opportunity to respond appropriately. What is the effect on a sitting judge who fails to respond appropriately to such a letter of inquiry?
5. Has a judge been reprimanded, reprimanded, fined, or otherwise punished for non-compliance with any existing principles and practices in the Statement of Judicial Conduct Principles and Practices? If so, what penalties have been imposed or could be? Is there a process where the people can complain that justice has not respected these principles and the Supreme Court will accept it?
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Those are very important questions. Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee are not going to let Chief Justice Roberts slide by simply responding to their request to testify at a Judiciary Committee hearing.
Senators want to know exactly whether the voluntary ethics agreement that Roberts mentioned has any teeth. If not, you want to know why.
The Senate will not let go of the wave of corruption being waged by conservative members of the Supreme Court.
Clarence Thomas is approaching the investigation. And the Senate wants to know what is happening in the Supreme Court.
Jason is the managing editor. He is also a member of the White House Press Pool and Congressional Correspondent for PoliticusUSA. Jason has a bachelor’s degree in political science. His graduate work focused on public policy, with a specialization in social reform activities.
Awards and professional memberships
Member of the Association of Professional Journalists and the American Political Science Association
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