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Friday, July 1, 2011

New York Times Addresses Supreme Court Ethics

Today's New York Times carries an editorial on judicial ethics that begins:

The court cannot maintain its legitimacy as guardian of the rule of law when justices behave like politicians. Yet, in several instances, justices acted in ways that weakened thLinke court’s reputation for being independent and impartial.

Could the editorial board responding to this op-ed from this week?

This, recall, was the term in which... Justices Scalia and Clarence Thomas each drew fire for attending separate meetings hosted by the conservative Koch brothers. Justice Thomas has also been made to defend the political activism of his wife, Virginia, and, in recent weeks, faced questions about his entanglement with Harlan Crow, a benefactor of conservative causes.

Or was it in response to their reporting earlier in the month?

The [Harlan Crow] project throws a spotlight on an unusual, and ethically sensitive, friendship that appears to be markedly different from those of other justices on the nation’s highest court.

There is no mandatory code of conduct for Supreme Court justices, but that doesn't mean they don't have to follow the Ethics in Government Act of 1978, which requires disclosure of income, gifts, reimbursements, and certain financial interests of spouses. As more and more information comes to light about Justice Thomas' relationship with conservative Republican donors and fundraisers, questions about his adherence to the law continue to surface.

Click here
to read the rest of today's New York Times editorial.

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