The U.S. Supreme Court recently issued a code of ethics following months of financial scandals associated with Justices Samuel Alito and Clarence Thomas. The nonbinding code, signed by all nine justices, outlines five canons intended to guide their behavior, emphasizing integrity, impartiality, diligence, and the avoidance of impropriety and political activity.
The code itself is unremarkable. It is based on the American Bar Association’s Model Code of Judicial Conduct, which is used throughout the country. In structure and in content it is largely the same. It, however, is absent of specifics and teeth.