Saturday, February 19, 2011
Can Congress Regulate Supreme Court Ethics?
At least one representative thinks so. Chris Murphy is suggesting legislation that would:
apply the Judicial Conference's Code of Conduct, which applies to all other federal judges, to Supreme Court justices. This would allow the public to access more timely and detailed information when an outside group wants to have a justice participate in a conference, such as the funders of the conference;
require the justices to simply publicly disclose their reasoning behind a recusal when they withdraw from a case;
require the Court to develop a process for parties to a case before the Court to request a decision from the Court, or a panel of the Court, regarding the potential conflict of interest of a particular Justice.
According to the Congressperson's press release, Murphy is prompted by the actions of Justices Scalia and Thomas in relation to "Charles and David Koch, billionaire brothers who operate a Kansas-based energy company."
The press release does not mention the controversy which swirled around Justice Alito last year regarding an American Spectator event.