U.S. Judiciary Ethics Spotlighted by Newly Introduced Congressional Bill

Catherine J. Frompovich
Activist Post

Something rather monumental happened recently on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, that apparently is not getting much media exposure. Congresswoman Louise McIntosh Slaughter (D-NY-25), along with Common Cause and the Alliance for Justice, filed complaints about U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas [1] and Federal Appeals Court Judge Diane Sykes for headlining the Federalist’s Society’s annual fund raising dinner in Washington, DC, the evening of November 14, 2013. [2]

According to the Complaint of Judicial Misconduct, both justices apparently violated Canon 4(c) of the Code of Conduct because “a judge ‘should not personally participate in fund-raising activities, solicit funds for any organization, or use or permit the use of the prestige of judicial office for that purpose.’” [3] Perhaps such conduct by judges may have been overlooked in the past; however, in these unusual days of near all-time low ratings for any political body in authority within the Capitol Beltway, Congresswoman Slaughter just may want to raise the accountability bar. And, there may be no better government institution to start with than the judicial system.

The Gallup Poll taken in July 2013 found the U.S. Supreme Court approval rating is near an all-time low, i.e., 46 percent. Sad, isn’t that?

Furthermore, the highest approval rating for Congress that I can find out of eight polls taken is only 11 percent! [4] Oh, that smarts! Where do we file a complaint against Congress? At mid-term elections, Tuesday, November 4, 2014. Maybe some members of Congress, like Representative Slaughter, are beginning to get the message and want to do something to regain confidence.

A complaint letter about Justice Thomas was sent to Chief Justice John Roberts [5], which is self-explanatory. Personally, I wonder about how much real attention that letter will receive. The complainants also sent a letter about Justice Sykes to the Judicial Council of the Seventh Circuit. [6] But, Congresswoman Slaughter didn’t stop there!

She also introduced a bill into the Congressional hopper, H.R.2902 – Supreme Court Ethics Act of 2013 that “is to apply a code of ethics to Justices who sit on the Supreme Court of the United States, being mindful of their preeminence in the Federal judiciary.” [7] Apparently, other members of Congress also are hearing drumbeats foreboding Election Day doom. H.R. 2902 currently has 58 cosponsors. That bill still can work its way around Congress for another year. It will be interesting to see how many cosponsors it finally winds up with. Maybe readers would like to ask your members of Congress to cosponsor H.R. 2902. Here’s how to contact any member of Congress. http://www.contactingthecongress.org/

In addition to all the above, Congresswoman Slaughter has a petition to “Hold Justice Clarence Thomas Accountable for Defying the Code of Conduct for U.S. Judges”, which you also may want to sign. When I checked last, the petition had over 140,000 signatures! What is that saying? Taxpayers, consumers, citizens finally are getting a sense of what’s going on in Washington, DC, and they want accountability. Let’s hope it doesn’t stop with the judiciary, as there is great need for accountability at all levels of the current government and administration. Wouldn’t you agree?

Congresswoman Slaughter isn’t barking up just any old tree; she’s barking up the judiciary’s trees! There is a Code of Conduct for United States Judges [8] that clearly itemizes what is expected from judges. The trouble is, similar to what’s going on in most of Washington’s inner circles anymore, everyone thinks he or she is above the law, ethics, and transparency. That apparent lawless ideology at very high levels now is hearing “checkmate”. In the board game of chess, “checkmate” refers to the player’s king piece being attacked directly by the opposing side, threatened, and the game usually is over if the king piece cannot make a legal move.

It’s going to be interesting to see how this ‘game’ plays out, and if there will be other accountability games taken up, especially if Congress has the intestinal fortitude to use its oversight powers and not cave to intimidation, lobbying forces, or media controllers. Congress can do it! The U.S. Constitution empowers Congress! However, there are two questions that need to be asked:

  1. Why has Congress been sleeping at the switch for so long, i.e., since 2009; and 
  2. What are you going to do about it now that you have heard how dissatisfied we are with your performance? Extrapolating from former Pennsylvania Governor Edward G. Rendell’s (2003-2011) book title, A Nation of Wusses, what kind of wusses are you?

You can redeem yourselves. Just listen to We, the People!

Notes:

[1] http://legaltimes.typepad.com/blt/2013/11/joyous-justice-thomas-speaks-to-federalist-society.html

[2] http://louise.house.gov/press-releases/reformers-senior-lawmaker-charge-justice-thomas-and-federal-appellate-judge-diane-sykes-with-violating-judicial-ethics/

[3] http://louise.house.gov/uploads/Complaint%20-%20Federalist%20Society%20-%20Judge%20Sykes%20FINAL%2011%2012%2013.pdf

[4] http://www.realclearpolitics.com/epolls/other/congressional_job_approval-903.html

[5] http://louise.house.gov/uploads/Letter%20to%20CJ%20Roberts%20re%20Thomas%20Fed%20Soc%20FINAL%2011%2013%2013.pdf



[6] http://louise.house.gov/uploads/Complaint%20-%20Federalist%20Society%20-%20Judge%20Sykes%20FINAL%2011%2012%2013.pdf

[7] http://beta.congress.gov/bill/113th/house-bill/2902/text

[8] http://www.uscourts.gov/RulesAndPolicies/CodesOfConduct/CodeConductUnitedStatesJudges.aspx

Catherine J Frompovich (website) is a retired natural nutritionist who earned advanced degrees in Nutrition and Holistic Health Sciences, Certification in Orthomolecular Theory and Practice plus Paralegal Studies. Her work has been published in national and airline magazines since the early 1980s. Catherine authored numerous books on health issues along with co-authoring papers and monographs with physicians, nurses, and holistic healthcare professionals. She has been a consumer healthcare researcher 35 years and counting.

Catherine’s latest book, published October 4, 2013, is Vaccination Voodoo, What YOU Don’t Know About Vaccines, available on Amazon.com.

Her 2012 book A Cancer Answer, Holistic BREAST Cancer Management, A Guide to Effective & Non-Toxic Treatments, is available on Amazon.com and as a Kindle eBook.

Two of Catherine’s more recent books on Amazon.com are Our Chemical Lives And The Hijacking Of Our DNA, A Probe Into What’s Probably Making Us Sick (2009) and Lord, How Can I Make It Through Grieving My Loss, An Inspirational Guide Through the Grieving Process (2008).


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