According to a recent Gallup poll, confidence in the Supreme Court has reached a record low—with only 30% of Americans trusting the nation’s highest court. And it’s hardly any surprise: The nine Supreme Court justices are under no obligation to recuse themselves from cases where they have a conflict of interest and are free to engage in political activity.
But a new bill introduced by progressive champion Representative Louise Slaughter, the Supreme Court Ethics Act of 2015, would ensure that Supreme Court judges rule fairly and conduct themselves in ways that uphold the impartiality and integrity of the judiciary.
Here are recent examples of the Court’s conservative justices running amok:
- Justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas attended Koch Brothers political functions at a time when the court was considering loosening limits on corporate campaign contributions.
- Justice Samuel Alito spoke at a fundraising dinner for the conservative American Spectator magazine, where tickets were sold for as much as $25,000 a plate.
- Justice Thomas failed to report his wife’s income from the Heritage Foundation, even as she lobbied against the Affordable Care Act while cases worked their way to the Supreme Court. He also failed to recuse himself from ACA-related cases despite a clear conflict of interest with his wife’s work.
The American public deserves a Supreme Court above partisan politics. We must have confidence that our highest court and ultimate arbiter of justice is not swayed by political ideology or undue influence. It’s time for Congress to act and force the Supreme Court to adopt a code of conduct now. The more of us who stand with Rep. Slaughter, the better the chance that Congress will act to pass this bill.
Sign the petition from CREDO and Daily Kos to Congress: Pass the Supreme Court Ethics Act of 2015.
Monique Teal, Daily Kos
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