Congress is demanding a code of ethics for the U.S. Supreme Court. So is the national news media. Congress and the media may not see eye to eye on much but they do agree that the Judicial Branch should be controlled by the Legislative Branch. It appears the ideology of Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has infiltrated the American Garden of Eden with a poisoned pome and Congress is champing to chomp.
Congress teaching ethics to the Supreme Court is like Helen of Troy teaching matrimonial loyalty to Hamlet’s mother. If Congress were medical advice providers we might say, “First heal yourselves.” Be that as it may, there is little doubt the Supreme Court could use some ethical lessons. However, as a separate and equal branch of our three-branch democratic republic, I prefer the courts remain independent even if they sometimes teeter on a fulcrum between questionable personal behavior and unquestioned legerdemain. Such cases as Dred Scott in which the one-time slave holder, Chief Justice Roger Taney who did not recuse himself, decided the Negro Dred Scott had no rights that America’s white society was bound by law to recognize come to mind.
No, Congress should not be looking for the log in the eyes of the Supreme Court but should be initiating a Constitutional amendment that would ensure America’s citizens, not a few highly partisan politicians, would have the choice as to who and for what term judges would serve. I do not know, Gentle Reader, if you have read my numerous columns on electing judges to one fairly short term. I only know for sure that Peg read them because I refused to comply with her many varied domestic demands until she did. However, if by some chance you did read them you know my preference is a truly democratic judicial selection process.
Non-partisan elections of competing, qualified judicial candidates for one 10-year term and life-time pensions are my suggestion. Advice on ethics for anyone from our Congress rings hollow.