The US Supreme Court has adopted its first code of conduct for its judges, a move that has been welcomed by the American Bar Association (ABA).
The Supreme Court said that the code’s aim was to “set out succinctly and gather in one place” the ethics, rules and principles that guided the conduct of members of the court, adding that, for the most part, the rules and principles were not new.
“The absence of a code, however, has led in recent years to the misunderstanding that the justices of this court, unlike all other jurists in this country, regard themselves as unrestricted by any ethics rules,” the court stated.
It added that the adoption of the code was aimed at dispelling that “misunderstanding”.
‘Positive first step’
ABA President Mary Smith described the code as “a positive first step toward ethics transparency by the nation’s highest court”.
In February of this year, the ABA House of Delegates adopted a resolution urging the Supreme Court to adopt a binding code of judicial ethics that would be comparable to a code for US judges adopted by the Judicial Conference of the United States.
The ABA pointed out that the code did not address “the important issue of enforcement”.
It noted, however, that Chief Justice John Roberts Jr had directed a study of best practices for complying with the code.