The U.S. Supreme Court should adopt a binding code of ethics for its justices that is akin to the code of conduct the Judicial Conference of the United States adopted for other federal judges, the House of Delegates said after a spirited debate at the 2023 ABA Midyear Meeting in New Orleans on February 6.
Resolution 400, which was submitted by the King County Bar Association in Seattle, also urges all other bar associations to pass their own resolutions calling for the Supreme Court to adopt a code of judicial ethics that is binding on its justices.
James Williams, the Washington state delegate to the House of Delegates, introduced the resolution, saying it could be “the most consequential that we will have a conversation about during this House.” He contended the American people need to know that the legal system—at its highest level—has some code that governs their conduct.
“How do we explain to them when they find out that every lawyer in this room, every judge in this room, every lawyer and every judge across the United States of America has a code of conduct, but the United States Supreme Court does not?” Williams said. “How do you explain to the American people when they discover that every part of our government structure, all the other agencies, have codes of conduct, but the United States Supreme Court does not?”