Action Alert: Pass the Supreme Court Ethics Act
Written by Natalie Davis on July 22, 2015
Do you trust the US Supreme Court? Sometimes the panel (barely) gets it right: Look at its recent rulings upholding Affordable Care Act subsidies and declaring marriage equality the law of the land. But all too often, the nation’s highest court gets it really, really wrong, as in the gutting of the Voting Rights Act and recent environmental decisions.
A recent Gallup poll shows only 30 percent of USians have any trust in the SCOTUS. And dig this jiggery pokery: The justices are not required to recuse themselves if they have a conflict of interest, and they are allowed to be as political as they want. That’s applesauce!
In the US House of Representatives, progressive Congressperson Louise Slaughter (D-NY) has introduced the Supreme Court Ethics Act of 2015, which would ensure that justices “conduct themselves in ways that uphold the impartiality and integrity of the judiciary.”
Of course, we need you to get busy with a petition created by CREDO Mobile and Daily Kos. Their joint action alert offers recent examples of the Supreme Court’s conservative justices behaving in manners most un-supreme:
* Justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas attended Koch Brothers political functions at a time when the court was considering loosening limits on corporate campaign contributions.
* Justice Samuel Alito spoke at a fundraising dinner for the conservative American Spectator magazine, where tickets were sold for as much as $25,000 a plate.
* Justice Thomas failed to report his wife’s income from the Heritage Foundation, even as she lobbied against the Affordable Care Act while cases worked their way to the Supreme Court. He also failed to recuse himself from ACA-related cases despite a clear conflict of interest with his wife’s work.
Of course, the law would keep left-leaning justices in check as well. Fair is fair, and we want all of the judges held to the highest standards of conduct.
As the alert states, “We must have confidence that our highest court and ultimate arbiter of justice is not swayed by political ideology or undue influence. It’s time for Congress to act and force the Supreme Court to adopt a code of conduct now. The more of us who stand with Rep. Slaughter, the better the chance that Congress will act to pass this bill.”
So, get to it. Sign the petition here.