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Thursday, November 3, 2011

What's standing in the way of reform?

The Code of Conduct for U.S. Judges lays out ethical guidelines to protect the integrity of our judicial system, and its rules bind every federal judge... except nine. Can you guess which?

That's right... the Code of Conduct for U.S. Judges applies to every federal judge except the nine justices of the Supreme Court.

As Slate.com Senior Editor Dahlia Lithwick put it in AFJ's latest film, "When you tell people that the Code of Conduct applies to everyone but Supreme Court justices, they think it's a joke. That's how preposterous it is."

But we can change that, right now. Sign our petition and send a message to Chief Justice John Roberts and let him know that it's time for every Supreme Court justice to follow the same rules that govern every other federal judge in America.

Several Supreme Court justices have recently made headlines by engaging in behavior that likely would not be permitted if they sat on lower courts.
  • Justice Alito has headlined fundraisers for right-wing groups such as the American Spectator magazine.
  • Justices Scalia and Thomas attended political strategy and fundraising conferences hosted by the ultra-conservative billionaire Koch brothers. The justices have also allowed their names to be used to draw attendees.
  • Justice Thomas maintains a relationship with conservative funder Harlan Crow that stretches the appearance of unethical behavior beyond the breaking point.
There's nothing stopping the Court from voluntarily adopting the Code of Conduct and putting an end to the kind of behavior that has left many Americans wondering if Supreme Court justices are becoming "politicians in robes."

Click here to send a message to John Roberts. Tell him that the Court could voluntarily adopt the Code of Conduct RIGHT NOW and put these fears to rest by preserving the integrity of our nation's highest legal institution.

Reform can happen. The same Code of Conduct that's good enough for every other federal judge is good enough for the nine justices of the Supreme Court. Take action today and make sure that Chief Justice Roberts understands that his Court faces a question of integrity... and that his answer can protect the Court from harmful poltical influence.

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