The professors said in their letter to the committees that their goal is not to second-guess the activities of any individual judge but to create "mandatory and enforceable rules to protect the integrity of the Supreme Court." An influential British judge declared in the 17th century that "no man may be a judge in his own case," the letter said, but "inexplicably we still allow Supreme Court justices to be the sole judge of themselves on recusal issues."And what man will be the judge of whether these law professors are truthfully reporting their motives?
Under the ethics code that the lawyers consider their model, approved and regularly updated by the nation's chief appellate judges under the chairmanship of the chief justice, lesser judges are prohibited from accepting travel reimbursements from outside groups if they "give the appearance of influencing the judge" or "otherwise give the appearance of impropriety."And who will be the judge of which meetings and events are overtly political? If they're sponsored by the Kochs, they're political. So far, we know that. Thanks a lot. I love the irony. It's obvious that this proposal is overtly political!
Nan Aron, director of the liberal group Alliance for Justice, said that if these rules were extended to the Supreme Court, none of the justices could attend "overtly political meetings or events" like those sponsored by the Kochs.
At present, said Ellen Yaroshefsky, director of the Jacob Burns Ethics Center at the Benjamin Cardozo School of Law, "we have standard-less standards" at the court that she struggles to explain to students.Oh, wonderful! An independent body of retired justices or other experts. Yes, wouldn't it be great to have an independent body of retired justices or other experts decide which Supreme Court Justices got to participate in particular cases?
She said it would be straightforward for the court to appoint an independent body of retired justices or other experts to adjudicate recusal and ethics controversies.
So... retired Justices Souter, Stevens, and O'Connor might step up to decide who to disqualify in — let's say — the case about the constitutionality of the individual mandate. Maybe you think that skews a tad liberal, a tad too anti-Scalia-and-Thomas. Well, first, that's not a bug, it's a feature. And, second, whoever is setting up the "independent body" could always balance it with those "other experts." You know where to get them, don't you? Elite law schools! Begin with the names of those 100 professors who signed that letter to Congress.
It's all so delightfully inbred — isn't it? — in the feverish fantasy life of the Scalia- and Thomas-haters of legal academia.