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Supreme Court justices discussed, but did not agree on, code of conduct

Washington Post: “…It remains an active topic at the court, these people said, and the court’s legal counsel Ethan Torrey prepared a working document of issues for them to consider. There is no timeline for the justices to act, however. Those familiar with the matter spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss the situation. The inertia has frustrated critics, whose demands for reform have intensified. The court’s profile has only increased as a new majority has moved rapidly on a range of polarizing issues. That has also increased scrutiny on the justices, the activities of their spouses and when the court’s members should recuse themselves from cases. Justice Clarence Thomas, whose wife Virginia “Ginni” Thomas took an active role in challenging the outcome of the 2020 presidential election while her husband considered cases on the subject, has become a particular focus. This week, leaders of the American Bar Association joined those urging action, saying that “the absence of a clearly articulated, binding code of ethics for the justices of the Court imperils the legitimacy of the Court.” The call was not motivated by “any particular conduct by any one or more current or former members of the Court,” the group said. “This is a break-the-glass moment on Supreme Court ethics,” said Gabe Roth of the group Fix the Court, which has long advocated for greater accountability and transparency at the court…Rep. Hank Johnson (D-Ga.), who sponsored legislation to create a code of conduct for the court, said Americans are becoming impatient. “I do not understand why there has not been a conclusion reached on this so-called study,” Johnson said. “It just seems like it has been quietly dropped, hoping the public will turn its attention to other matters and never come back to this issue.”

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