House Judiciary Committee Passes Supreme Court Ethics Legislation
Washington, May 11, 2022
WASHINGTON, D.C.—The House Judiciary Committee today passed legislation to address the growing ethics crisis at the Supreme Court. The “Supreme Court Ethics, Recusal, and Transparency Act of 2022” (H.R. 7647) would require the Supreme Court to create a code of conduct that would apply to both the justices and their employees, ensuring that justices cannot pick and choose their ethical obligations without being bound by a single, uniform code. Recent ethical lapses by justices appointed by presidents from both parties underscores the urgent need of this legislation.
“The Supreme Court is one of the nation’s most vital institutions and its fidelity to equal and impartial justice, as well as the public's faith in the integrity of the judiciary, are foundational to maintaining the rule of law,” said Chairman Jerrold Nadler. “We expect the justices of our nation’s highest court to hold themselves to the highest standards of ethical conduct, but, in fact, their conduct too often falls below the standards that most other government officials are required to follow. This important legislation will address the growing and persistent ethics crisis at our nation’s highest court by requiring the Supreme Court to promulgate an express code of conduct that would apply to both the justices and their employees. This bill is a major step forward for judicial ethics and I thank Subcommittee Chairman Johnson for bringing forward this much needed legislation.”
Despite recent, high profile ethical lapses on the Supreme Court, including Justice Thomas’s refusal to recuse himself from a case regarding his wife’s involvement in January 6th activities, every Republican on the House Judiciary Committee voted against creating a commonsense ethics standard for our nation’s highest court.
“It is shocking that any member of Congress would be opposed to strengthening the integrity of the Supreme Court by asking the Court to create a code of ethics that is consistent with those followed by other public officials,” continued Chairman Nadler. “Republicans on this committee have voted against greater accountability and transparency at one of our nation’s most secretive, but consequential, institutions. Democrats will continue our work to strengthen the judiciary system through commonsense ethics reforms so the American people can have faith in the impartiality of our federal judges and justices.”