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Justice Thomas, gift reporting rules, and what a Supreme Court code of conduct would and wouldn’t accomplish

Brookings: “Recent revelations of Justice Clarence Thomas’s rocky relationship with gift and income reporting rules have heightened attention to the arcane and often misunderstood federal judicial ethics regime and quickened the drumbeat for a Supreme Court code of conduct. My goal in this post is to (1) summarize the statutes and rules that govern federal judge’s and justices’ acceptance and reporting of gifts, (2) assess Justice Thomas’s compliance and (3) review the responses to Thomas’s case and broader calls for tightened judicial ethics enforcement — principally the feasibility of policing alleged violations through a Supreme Court code of conduct. Controversy over Justice Thomas is one of many swirling about the Court. Claims, vigorously denied, of a leaked 2014 opinion and private efforts to curry favor with some justices; controversy around the investigation of the leaked opinion in last year’s abortions case; and numerous controversies about Justice Thomas’s spouse are an incomplete list…”

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