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Opinion | The Supreme Court’s New Ethics Code



The Supreme Court issued a code of conduct for itself on Monday, signed by all nine Justices, and on the merits it reads in large part like a restating of principles. But if Chief Justice John Roberts is hoping to deflect partisan attacks on the Court, it’s likely to be a bad political bet. The critics are already calling the code inadequate and see it as proof that the Justices will bend to political pressure.

The code of conduct’s first good deed is putting the Supreme Court in its proper context, which is atop a judiciary that the Constitution makes a coequal branch of government. Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse and other Democrats want Congress to dictate detailed “ethics” procedures to the High Court. Under his bill, public “complaints” against the Justices would be investigated by lower judges. Recusal requests would no longer be the decision of the Justices themselves.

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