Supreme disappointment

CREDO action
Fix the Supreme Court

Tell Chief Justice John Roberts:
"A majority of Americans have lost faith in the Supreme Court. As Chief Justice, it's your duty to implement changes to protect the court's integrity and impartiality and restore the confidence of the American people. The Roberts' Court must adopt its own code of conduct that includes the five canons of the Code of Conduct for U.S. Judges, requires that all justices disclose any activities they engage in that are paid for by others, and ends the practice whereby justices are the sole decision makers for their own recusals."

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Dear 5849376,

Fix the Supreme Court

Unleashing unlimited money into politics. Gutting the Voting Rights Act. Striking down affirmative action. Giving corporations personhood. The damage inflicted by Chief Justice John Roberts' Supreme Court continues to mount.

A survey released last week shows shows an extreme lack of trust in the court that cuts across party lines, and gives us a new opportunity to urge action. A staggering 60% of people believe that justices often let their own personal or political views influence their decision making. The integrity of the court is so damaged that almost 75% of respondents would support the end of lifetime appointments.1

The survey provides an opening to pressure the chief justice to bring the Supreme Court under a code of ethics. It's a move he has resisted, despite several recent examples of justices participating in cases where they had a clear conflict of interest. Now, with the legacy of his court at stake, he may finally be willing to act.

Tell Chief Justice John Roberts: It's time to address the crisis in Supreme Court ethics. Click here to automatically sign the petition.

It's shocking that the Supreme Court is exempt from the Code of Conduct for United States Judges, a common sense set of guidelines meant to ensure that judges rule fairly and conduct themselves in ways that uphold the impartiality and integrity of the judiciary. Without it, the doors are open for justices to engage in a range of activities that undermine the credibility of the court.

They are free to participate in cases where they have a clear conflict of interest. Justice Thomas participated in the Bowman v. Monsanto and Monsanto v. Geerston cases despite his years as a lawyer for the company. Thomas' wife Ginni was paid over $600,000 by the Heritage Foundation, which among other things aims to expand the rights of corporations, yet he still participated deciding Citizens United. And though his wife was a frequent critic of the Affordable Care Act, and advertised herself to conservative groups who had an explicit agenda of overturning health care reform as a lobbyist who has "experience and connections," he did not recuse himself in the case that could have overturned the law. This term, Justice Scalia participated in oral arguments for an abortion clinic buffer zone case despite his wife's longtime work with crisis pregnancy centers, one of many groups that would be negatively impacted by attempts to protect women seeking abortion from harassment outside clinics.2

Supreme Court Justices are also currently free to engage in political activity, as Justices Thomas and Scalia have done in appearances at Koch brother-sponsored seminars to advance "free society."3 Justice Thomas has also headlined a fundraiser for the Federalist Society, a conservative legal advocacy organization.4

It's this kind of behavior that has diminished the integrity of the court, and led so many Americans to question the impartiality of judges they believe more often than not make decisions based on politics and personal beliefs.

If Chief Justice Roberts wants to protect the honor of the highest court in the land, and the legacy of his tenure as chief justice, he'll take action to implement reforms now. Click the link below to automatically sign the petition.

Thanks for protecting the integrity of the court.

Heidi Hess, Campaign Manager
CREDO Action from Working Assets

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Learn more about this campaign

  1. "Survey: Majority of Americans want term limits for Supreme Court justices, think high court is too political," Katie McDonough, Salon, 05/07/2014.
  2. "Scalia's recusal dilemma: Is he conflicted on antiabortion "sidewalk counselors"?," Lauren Rankin, Salon, 4/21/14.
  3. "Justices Scalia And Thomas's Attendance At Koch Event Sparks Judicial Ethics Debate," Sam Stein, Huffington Post, 10/20/2010.
  4. "Clarence Thomas Federalist Society Appearance Sparks Renewed Calls for Supreme Court Ethics Reform ," Jessica Mason Pieklo, RH Reality Check, 11/18/2013.

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