Schumer blasts Supreme Court’s new ethics code for one ‘glaring omission’

Schumer blasts Supreme Court’s new ethics code for one ‘glaring omission’

Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) criticized the Supreme Court’s newly announced code of conduct for its omission of an outright ban on the justices from attending partisan political activities.

“The Supreme Court’s decision not to adopt a clear rule prohibiting justices from attending partisan political activities is nothing short of a glaring omission,” said Schumer, the Senate Minority Leader, in a statement.

“The justices must clearly stand apart from the partisan political atmosphere and maintain the public trust in the judicial system,” he added.

The changes to the court’s ethics rules, announced last week, added a “Code of Conduct for United States Supreme Court Justices,” outlining standards of professional behavior for the nine-member panel. The code is meant to “promote public confidence in the integrity and impartiality of the judiciary.”

Although parts of the code were addressed in previous rules, change in the language was necessary in the aftermath of controversial comments by Justice Brett Kavanaugh during his 2018 confirmation hearings.

Schumer has been vocal in his opposition to the recent appointments of two conservative justices – Justice Amy Coney Barrett and Kavanaugh – to the Supreme Court, claiming the moves go against the will of the American people. He wants to see the justices refrain from appearing in partisan political events or activities.

The Supreme Court’s new code of conduct does not go far enough to insulate the judiciary from politics, Seth Barrett Tillman, a professor of law at Maynooth University in Ireland, argues.

“It does not bar justices from attending political events or volunteering for a political party or candidate. Justices should be insulated from politics, not play a role in it,” said Tillman.

The Supreme Court did not respond to a request for comment.