Talk:Supreme Court of the United States

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Recusal rules

I removed this section because:

  • There's no context given for it; it's just an excerpt with no summary, statement of themes, etc.
  • It gives undue weight to recent events (what Wikipedia calls recentism.

An overview article on JP discussing the issue of mandatory and enforceable rules for SCOTUS justices -- something like Proposed ethics and recusal rules for U.S. Supreme Court justices -- would be an appropriate place for something like this. Such an article should attempt to include an historical overview of such proposals, pros and cons, etc. Leslie Graves 12:24, 9 March 2011 (CST)

Proposed "mandatory and enforceable ethics rules for Supreme Court justices" (2011)

"More than 100 law professors have signed on to a letter released today that proposes congressional hearings and legislation aimed at fashioning "mandatory and enforceable" ethics rules for Supreme Court justices for the first time. The effort, coordinated by the liberal Alliance for Justice, was triggered by "recent media reports," the letter said, apparently referring to stories of meetings and other potential conflicts of interest involving Justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas among others.

The professors note that the Court is not covered by the code of conduct that lower federal court judges are required to follow. The Supreme Court has long said it looks to the code for "guidance" -- a concession which, the signers agree, "has proved insufficient." The letter also points out disapprovingly that individual justices alone decide whether they should or should not recuse in a given case, not subject to review by anyone else, and with no requirement to explain their decisions. We delved into the recusal issue in a recent story in our newsletter Supreme Court Insider (subscription required.)

"Adherence to mandatory ethical rules by justices, and requiring transparent, reviewable recusal decisions that do not turn solely on the silent opinion of the challenged justice will reinforce the integrity and legitimacy of the Supreme Court," the letter asserted.

The professors directed their letter to the leaders of the Senate and House Judiciary Committees, with an eye toward hearings and legislation that would apply and enforce the code of conduct on Supreme Court justices, and impose rules for transparency and review of justices' recusal decisions.

In making their case, the professors invoked the Court's own language from the 2009 decision in Caperton v. A.T. Massey Coal Co., which disapproved of a state judge's refusal to step aside from a case that involved a major campaign donor. "Judicial integrity is," the Court said, "a state interest of the highest order."

Alliance for Justice president Nan Aron said her group became involved with the letter-writing effort after consulting with some legal ethics experts in the context of the growing controversy over meetings with conservative groups by Thomas and Scalia, as well as lobbying activities by Thomas's wife Virginia. "They were alarmed about what was happening," said Aron, so she agreed to "shepherd" the professors' letter through to fruition. "The time is overdue," Aron said, for new ethics rules for the high court.

Among the signers are leading names and experts on legal and judicial ethics, including Stanford Law School's Deborah Rhode, George Washington University Law School's Stephen Saltzburg and Alan Morrison, James Alfini of South Texas College of Law, Yale Law School's Lawrence Fox, Amanda Frost and Herman Schwartz of American University Washington College of Law, Northwestern University School of Law's Steven Lubet and Ellen Yaroshefsky of Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law."[1]

Removed section

I removed the section re-inserted by User:Joseph Zernik which was only a marginal improvement over his first version. Information like this belongs in a separate, lengthy article that is an encyclopedic overview of the scholarship in this area, notable reforms that have been proposed, the arguments for and against various proposed reforms, and the variety of different perspectives on the current reform proposal and its background. In the absence of such an overview, this section gives undue weight to one perspective, and fails to situate some current opinions within their historical and scholarly context. There is no article like that on Judgepedia right now. It would take a lot of careful work for someone to write it. That work would be welcome. Leslie Graves 06:39, 10 March 2011 (CST)
Cite error: <ref> tags exist, but no <references/> tag was found

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