Ex-conservative judge issues blistering warning as he urges SCOTUS to adopt 'highest' ethical standards

Ex-conservative judge issues blistering warning as he urges SCOTUS to adopt 'highest' ethical standards
The U.S. Supreme Court in 2022 (Creative Commons)

A former conservative judge is calling on the U.S. Supreme Court to enforce a higher standard of ethics rules amid ongoing ethical controversies surrounding the court.

According to CNN, J. Michael Luttig — a former judge on the US 4th Circuit Court of Appeals — released a statement that contained a blistering warning as he urged the high court to enact ethical codes that would “subject itself to the highest professional and ethical standards that would render the Court beyond reproach.”

Per the news outlet, Luttig's statement is part of his recent testimony provided for the Senate Judiciary Committee's hearing for Tuesday, May 2.

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In addition to Luttig's statement, Lawrence Tribe — a Supreme Court litigator and law professor at Harvard — also provided a written statement urging similar reforms.

“I am not insensitive to the delicacy of the political choices Congress would be required to make in order to decide what limits to impose on how the Justices conduct themselves with respect to accepting favors from individuals and groups with business before the Court or with interests in the outcome of that business and on how transparent Justices must be in the way they lead their lives outside the Supreme Court itself and outside the performance of its judicial tasks,” Tribe writes.

But, he also argues that due to stipulations within the Constitution, these types of policy decisions are “one buck Congress cannot pass.”

The statements come as the Senate Judiciary Committee facilitated a number of hearings in the wake of controversies surrounding U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas.

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CNN noted, "Among the allegations were bombshell reports by ProPublica laying out luxury trips Thomas took that were paid for by a GOP megadonor and went largely unreported on the justice’s financial disclosures, as well as a real estate transaction involving the donor that was also not disclosed by the justice."

Speaking about the damning reports on Thomas, Chairman Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) weighed in with his take during a discussion with CNN on Monday, May 1.

“We cannot excuse what has been reported already about Justice Clarence Thomas. The yacht trips to Indonesia sponsored by a billionaire in Texas, the Gorsuch real estate transaction have raised serious questions about whether things went unreported,” Durbin told CNN anchor John Berman.

He added, “This sort of thing is unacceptable in every branch of our government, at every level of the courts, save the nine men and women serving on the Supreme Court."

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