The Student News Site of Springside Chestnut Hill Academy

The Campus Lantern

The Campus Lantern

The Campus Lantern

Supreme Court ethics called into question

After a long history of unethical practices within the judicial system, the Senate Judiciary Committee took the first steps to ensure a more impartial judiciary by subpoenaing Harlan Crow and Leonard Leo.
The Supreme Court’s problem with judicial ethics began in 2012 when the Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Senator Durbin, urged Chief Justice Roberts to establish a code of ethics for the Supreme Court to adhere to. After Chief Justice Robert’s refusal, years of unethical practices followed. Associate Justice Clarence Thomas reportedly accepted multiple “gifts” from different people with interests in swaying his vote. In addition to numerous other “gifts” that look a lot like briberies, Associate Justice Clarence Thomas has refused to excuse himself from cases that are a clear example of a conflict of interest, including hearings on the January 6th Insurrection, which his wife reportedly attended.
To investigate these actions, the Senate Judiciary Committee sent letters to all people involved in the alleged influencing of Supreme Court justices: Harlan Crow, Leonard Leo, and Robin Arkley II. Initially, all three blatantly refused to comply with the Committee’s investigation. As the investigation progressed, Robin Arkley began cooperating, resulting in Durbin dropping the subpoena. Harlan Crow and Leonard Leo; however, still refuse to cooperate, which is why the Senate recently authorized the subpoenaing of Crow and Leo. Crow is involved with many of the “gifts” Thomas has received; Crow is even paying for the tuition of Thomas’s nephew, whom Thomas has primary custody of.
The following is a mostly complete list of the ethically questionable events surrounding Justice Thomas:
At least 38 Destination Vacations
At least 26 Private Jet Flights
Helicopter Flights
Stays at Private Resorts
VIP Sports passes
Standing Invitation to Private Golf Club
A Super Bowl Ring
Undisclosed Superyacht Stay (disclosure required by federal law)
2 Years of Private School Tuition for Thomas’s nephew
Thomas sold a string of real estate properties to Crow
Leo has given Thomas’s wife Ginni “another $25,000” through a nonprofit they are a part of
Ginni has raised over 600k through anonymous donors
Some would argue that these gifts do not qualify as a bribe because Thomas would have voted the same way regardless of the gifts. This is a rather weak line of reasoning because he has received these gifts. His original vote before any alternative motivations doesn’t mean anything because we can never know what his true motivations are. Regardless, it raises many important ethical questions about these practices. A lack of consequences for Thomas also set a dangerous precedent that actions that could be perceived as unethical go unpunished. This sets up a foundation for a corrupt court that makes decisions based on who pays them the most, and not what the country needs.
In response, the Chief Justice recently adopted a lackluster code of ethics for the Court. The court’s code of ethics covers everything one would expect from an ethical code except for one thing, consequences for breaching it. The ethical code lays out all sorts of rules that must be followed; however, nowhere does it mention anything about holding the justices accountable for a breach of this ethics code. Determining the ethics and acting appropriately is entirely up to the individual judges. For example, the code of ethics clearly states: “A Justice should resign the judicial office if he or she becomes a candidate in a primary or general election for any office. A Justice should not engage in other political activity.” However, the ethics code fails to mention any way of holding someone accountable for this. It is the Justice’s responsibility to “resign” if they become a candidate in an election. This is a weak attempt by the court to appear more ethical without actually being held to high ethical standards.
Overall, the weak ethics code and numerous ethical scandals surrounding the Supreme Court’s justices call into question the ethical standards of the court. Shouldn’t the Highest Court in the Land hold themselves to the highest ethical standards?

Leave a Comment
Donate to The Campus Lantern

Your donation will support the student journalists of Springside Chestnut Hill Academy. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

More to Discover
Donate to The Campus Lantern

Comments (0)

All The Campus Lantern Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *