It's weak sauce — which was the goal all along.
So the Justices can escape any consequences of their corruption by claiming that they didn't break the rules "knowingly," huh? My memory is faulty, but didn't some old legal adage say that "Ignorance of the law is no..." Problem? Fun? I'm sure Thomas or Alito could complete that one for me!
I'm a retired academic who taught mostly graduate courses in my field, but I also taught ethics courses. Within organizations, ethics is top-down. If the person or persons at the top are not viewed as acting ethically, those further down the ladder will also behave unethically. The reverse is also true. We see this in the Supreme Court, in Congress and in businesses. You can't really teach someone to be ethical but you can teach scenarios causing students to discuss and debate the ethical implications, to think about their ethical framework and how it affects their decisions. You can also enforce accountability concerning those decisions. I think Congress still needs to address the lack of ethical conduct within the Supreme Court.
Lots of attention to the use of "knowlingly", but surprised no mention of the switch "shall' to "should". Words are powerful. This "ethics code" is obviously neither.
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I don't expect anything from the likes of Thomas and Alito and Roberts. The liberals otoh had to have known about these bribes for decades and said nothing, and that hurts.
I’m not a lawyer or tax expert but isn’t ignorance of a law considered no excuse? Does accepting the gifts that Thomas receive (which appear to have dwarfed the salary he received) have some tax consequences? Leaving politics out of it (no problem!) is an investigation by the DOJ appropriate or is this a subject for a thorough audit by the IRS? Or are we in a situation where the Founding Fathers never anticipated this kind of grift and thought that the threat of impeachment would keep unscrupulous justices in line?
Please educate me.
The Court emphasized that it adopted and publicized it's so-called Code of Conduct, specifically, [t]o dispel" what the Court characterized as the American public's mere "misunderstanding that the Justices of this Court" effectively "regard themselves as unrestricted by any ethics rules." STATEMENT OF THE COURT REGARDING THE CODE OF CONDUCT. But the Court's own plain words underscored far more than that Justices regard themselves as unrestricted by any mere "ethics rules." Aside from provisions already mentioned above, two provisions seemed shockingly deficient and even deceitful.
First, the Code contends that each "Justice" merely "should [ ] comply with the law." Canon 2A. Second, each "Justice [ ] has an obligation" merely "to sit unless disqualified." Canon 3B(1). With such language, the Justices imply that they have the power to choose to knowingly violate the law (and implicitly knowingly violate the Constitution). Both the foregoing provisions do egregious disservice to the plain language and strong spirit of the Constitution and federal law. Judges have no power to choose to knowingly violate the law, and they must do much more than merely "sit."
"No person" whatsoever may "be deprived of life" or any "liberty, or property" by any judge "without due process of law." U.S. Const. Amend. V. The “Constitution” and federal “Laws” that are "made in Pursuance" of the Constitution "and all Treaties" are “the supreme Law of the Land,” and all state and federal “Judges” are “bound thereby;” moreover, “all” court “Officers” are “bound” (and must swear or affirm they will conduct themselves as being bound) to “support this Constitution” every day in all official conduct. U.S. Const. Art. VI. So every federal judge promised his court and the American people that every day in every case he would “support and defend the Constitution” against “all enemies,” (including other judges attacking and undermining the Constitution). 5 U.S.C. 3331. Every federal judge promised that every day in every case he would “administer justice” and “do equal right to” judges, lawyers and litigants, and “faithfully” to the Constitution and “impartially discharge and perform all” his “duties” under “the Constitution and” federal “laws.” 28 U.S.C. 453. So-called codes of conduct that state or imply anything different are dangerous.
Thomas: "Sorry officer, I didn't know I couldn't do that."
Kagan: "I didn't know I couldn't do that?"
Thomas: "That was good, wasn't it? Because I DID KNOW I couldn't do that!" *maniacal laughing ensues*