Supreme Court Revises Ethics Code After Congressional Push

( – It may or may not surprise readers to learn that prior to November 13th, the nation’s highest court did not have a formalized system of ethics. Following their just-released “Code of Conduct,” what some have described as an apparent lack of accountability on the bench is no longer the case.

Some legislators are of the opinion that the new code is less about transparency and more about the deliberate targeting of the court’s conservative majority. South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham accused liberals on the Senate Judiciary of looking for ways to delegitimize rulings that were not aligned with their party’s ideology.

According to a number of outlets, the committee, which was led largely by Democrats, has been pushing for the reforms for many months. As reported by a number of different organizations, several conservative justices have been targeted by those on the left after it was revealed that they had expensive vacations paid for by wealthy friends.

Many may interpret the paid-for trips as a conflict of interest, but to date, no one has been able to proffer evidence that shows any of the excursions led to altered or secured votes on the part of the involved justices. Upon the court’s announcement, the justices wrote that in spite of the official codification, there was nothing technically new about what was being implemented other than the fact the rules were being written down.

Their release stated that they have long operated by “the equivalent of” what is known as common law ethics and pointed out that they follow the same provisions and regulations that govern members of the judiciary in lower courts. They acknowledged that the lack of a formalized set of rules had led to a public misunderstanding that Justices on the Supreme Court were not subject to the same regulations as other national officials.

The 5-section code covers everything from travel reimbursements to book promotions to court staff employment.

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