After months of ethics scandals and scrutiny from advocates, the U.S. Supreme Court released a code of conduct on November 15, with all nine justices signing on. According to the opening statement, the justices wanted to allegedly dispel a “misunderstanding that the justices of this Court, unlike all other jurists in this country, regard themselves as unrestricted by any ethics rules.”
But the code isn’t fostering understanding; it’s a mere facade, a paper-thin veiled attempt at responsibility that ultimately serves as nothing more than a PR stunt in the guise of genuine accountability. Once rumored ethical concerns have now become regular fixtures in national headlines about clear ethics violations. Deep investigations by multiple outlets have revealed a pattern and practice of questionable behavior. Congress must see through this stunt, conduct a thorough investigation, and enact binding, enforceable federal legislation covering ethics reform and court expansion.