54 National Groups Call for Immediate Action on Judicial Ethics

Courts News 04.18,23

Contact: Rachel Hooper, [email protected]

WASHINGTON — The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, joined by 53 national organizations, wrote to members of Congress today urging swift action to strengthen our federal judiciary and address the ongoing ethics crisis at the U.S. Supreme Court.

“We call for immediate passage of robust ethics reform legislation, including an enforceable Code of Conduct for Supreme Court justices, as well as other needed transparency measures. Furthermore, we urge sustained oversight and investigation into reports identifying disturbing patterns of ethics violations by Supreme Court justices,” the letter states.

The joint letter follows recent media reports detailing escalating and unacceptable patterns of Supreme Court justices refusing to hold themselves to basic ethical standards — raising serious concerns about the integrity of our nation’s highest court.

“The need for serious and immediate action on judicial ethics is clear,” the letter says. “Our federal courts must work for all of us, not just the wealthy and powerful. The decisions our judges and justices make shape our democracy and determine whether we can live free and full lives in which our civil and human rights are respected and protected.”

“The Leadership Conference, our Fair Courts Task Force, and the civil rights community have worked for decades to advocate for a federal judiciary that works for all of us and that is staffed by judges and justices who will fairly administer justice and who will instill public trust in the court’s decisions,” said Lena Zwarensteyn, senior director of the fair courts program at The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights. “That vital work continues today with a renewed urgency in light of this judicial ethics crisis. Every federal judge and justice must work for everyone, not just the wealthy and powerful, and must carry out their work without bias and free from undue influence. Immediate congressional action — including legislation, oversight, and investigation — is required in order for the Supreme Court to live up to its sacred promise.”

Read the full letter here.

The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights is a coalition charged by its diverse membership of more than 230 national organizations to promote and protect the rights of all persons in the United States. The Leadership Conference works toward an America as good as its ideals. For more information on The Leadership Conference and its member organizations, visit www.civilrights.org.