Debating Ethics Standards for United States Supreme Court Justices


The ethics standards for the United States Supreme Court have drawn renewed focus in recent months due to a wave of reporting on alleged ethical lapses of some of its members. This reporting was an impetus for a February 2023 American Bar Association resolution calling on the United States Supreme Court to adopt a binding ethics code, a call that has been echoed by former members of the federal judiciary and editorial boards around the country. This reporting has also spurred debate on federal legislation requiring the court to adopt a code of conduct. The calls for reform are clear, but raise a host of complex issues that this panel of experts on judicial ethics, professional responsibility and constitutional law debate. The panel discusses existing ethics rules, the efficacy of a binding ethics code, including possible enforcement mechanisms, separation of powers concerns, and more. 

Alicia Bannon
, Director, Judiciary Program, Brennan Center for Justice
Hon. Nancy Gertner, Judge, U.S. D.Mass. (Ret.), Senior Lecturer, Harvard Law School
Stephen Gillers, Elihu Root Professor of Law, New York University School of Law
Thomas Morgan, Professor Emeritus, The George Washington University School of Law
Russell Wheeler, Non-resident Senior Fellow, Governance Studies, Brookings Institution

Michael Cardozo
, Proskauer Rose LLP Partner (Ret.), Former New York City Bar Association President, and Former New York City Corporation Counsel

Sponsoring Committee:
Government Ethics & State Affairs, Edward Murray, Chair

Co-Sponsoring Committees:
Rule of Law Task Force, Marcy Kahn, Chair
Professional Responsibility, Aegis J. Frumento, Chair
Federal Courts, Richard Hong, Chair
Professional Discipline, Brenda Correa, Chair
Professional Ethics, David George Keyko, Chair

Co-Sponsoring Organizations:
LGBT Bar Association of New York
Women’s Bar Association of the State of New York
Muslim Bar Association of New York
Puerto Rican Bar Association
Jewish Lawyers Guild
South Asian Bar Association of New York
Dominican Bar Association