Thursday, June 13, 2024
49.0°F

Supreme Court Justices not modeling "good Behavior"

| June 6, 2024 12:00 AM

Historically, Supreme Court Justices have lifetime appointments. For some, it’s to create mayhem and flaunt ethical standards. This life-long appointment interpretation is not supported by the Constitution.

Article lll, Section 1 states that, “Judges, both of the supreme and inferior Courts, shall hold the Offices during good Behavior.” Lifetime appointment is never specifically mentioned.

Our understanding of “good Behavior” comes from the Judicial Conference’s Code of Conduct for U.S. Judges. It describes how judges can maintain integrity and independence. Conditions for Disqualification, described in Canon 3, include responsibility for being informed about a spouse’s activities and recognizing this appearance of bias.

Disclosures about insurrection-related flags at Justice Alito’s properties clearly creates perception of bias and requires his recusal from cases involving Trump. Alito evades responsibility by claiming his wife did it. Irrelevant.

Reports about Justice Thomas’ wife are more alarming. CBS News reported that Ginny Thomas texted Trump’s chief of staff Mark Meadows to suggest disgraced attorney Sydney Powell would expose election fraud and save America (12/30/22). AP News reported that Ginny attended Trump’s Jan. 6 Ellipse rally and emailed Arizona Rep. Rusty Bowers to support fake electors (9/29/22). Still, Thomas refuses to recuse himself from Trump cases.

Discussion of ethical lapses cannot overlook the unreported gifts, vacations, and corrupt property transactions received by Justice Thomas from billionaire Harlan Crow. Such violations make a mockery of the Constitution’s description of “good Behavior.”

The number of Justices is not fixed in the Constitution. It has changed six times in our history. It’s time to change it again by eliminating two justices who do not understand the meaning of “good Behavior.”

– David Daniels

Missoula