Sen Gillibrand: Supreme Court Doesn’t Have Ethics Code Of Conduct

August 2, 2021

U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand helped introduce legislation that would require the Judicial Conference of the United States to establish a code of ethical conduct for the Supreme Court of the United States. The bicameral Supreme Court Ethics Act is part of the transformative For the People Act, H.R. 1 and S.1, and would hold Supreme Court Justices to the Judicial Conference’s Code of Conduct for United States Judges, a code of ethics that ensures neutrality and transparency in the United States judiciary. This bill is led in the Senate by Senator Chris Murphy (D-CT) and in the House of Representatives by Congressman Hank Johnson (D-GA).

“Supreme Court Justices should be held to the highest level of scrutiny,” said Senator Gillibrand. “Every other federal judge across the United States is governed by a code of conduct to uphold the integrity of our nation’s judicial system. Supreme Court Justices are afforded a lifetime appointment but are not bound to the same code of conduct as all other federal judges. The increased politicization of the Supreme Court has eroded the nation’s trust in our judiciary – the Supreme Court Ethics Act would hold every justice accountable to a strict code of ethics and help to ensure independence and integrity of the federal judiciary.”

Senator Gillibrand is committed to reducing corruption in politics and cracking down on special interests. Since the Supreme Court’s 2010 Citizens United decision, spending by corporations and secretive front groups has flooded federal elections. Citizens United and subsequent Supreme Court rulings permit super PACs and certain types of tax-exempt groups, such as 501(c)(4) nonprofits, to spend unlimited sums in elections. Many of these groups are not required to disclose their donors, allowing wealthy corporations and individuals to spend unlimited, undisclosed money without being tied to the television attack ads and other electioneering activity the groups carry out. In March of 2021, Senator Gillibrand introduced the DISCLOSE Act to increase transparency of political spending by requiring organizations and corporations to disclose donors who have given $10,000 or more during an election cycle. This legislation also includes the Judicial Ads Act, which would combat the uptick in dark money flooding the nation’s courts.