The Leadership Conference Pushes for Much Needed Judicial Ethics Reform

Courts News 07.18.23

Contact: Rachel Hooper, [email protected]

WASHINGTON – Lena Zwarensteyn, senior director of the fair courts program at The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, released the following statement ahead of the Senate Judiciary Committee’s vote on the Supreme Court Ethics, Recusal, and Transparency (SCERT) Act:

“It is critically important that the Senate Judiciary Committee is taking action to address the escalating and egregious patterns of ethics violations and misconduct by U.S. Supreme Court justices. The lack of transparency around who has access to the most powerful jurists in our nation is deeply concerning. For our democracy to function, the Supreme Court must have the public’s faith that the justices’ decisions are informed by facts and law, not influenced by wealth and power. This is especially important as many of our communities experience the devastating impacts of a long-term, well-funded agenda to use our federal courts — including the Supreme Court — to roll back civil and human rights and upend our most basic freedoms.

“We entrust our Supreme Court justices to follow the law and deliver equal justice for all. But today, Supreme Court justices are the only federal judges who are not subject to a binding code of conduct. This is unacceptable. Enforceable recusal guidelines, disclosure requirements, and other transparency measures will strengthen our democracy and improve our judiciary. The Leadership Conference will continue to advocate for a federal judiciary that delivers on its promise of equal justice for all, and we are grateful to Chair Durbin, Senator Whitehouse, and others for prioritizing legislation that includes a binding Supreme Court Code of Conduct and strengthens recusal and transparency measures.”

In April, The Leadership Conference and more than 50 national organizations wrote to members of Congress calling for swift action to address the ongoing ethics crisis. Read the letter here.

The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights is a coalition charged by its diverse membership of more than 250 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