toothless ethics code

Where you see wrong or inequality or injustice, speak out, because this is your country. This is your democracy. Make it. Protect it. Pass it on.

Thurgood Marshall

The measure of a country’s greatness is its ability to retain compassion in times of crisis.

Thurgood Marshall

Justices continue to think and can change. I am ever hopeful that if the court has a blind spot today, its eyes will be open tomorrow.

Ruth Bader Ginsburg

The most stringent protection of free speech would not protect a man in falsely shouting fire in a theater and causing a panic.

– Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr.


toothless ethics code

The Seriously Flawed Supreme Court’s new ethics code is a toothless joke perpetrated by the offenders. They fool nobody. Fortunately, citizens of the United States aren’t buying it. The Court, attempting to deflect ethical missteps made by some Supreme Court Justices, failed to persuade people. Because much of the ethical dalliances have the appearance of donors buying justice, the new ‘code’ utterly fails. The ethical conundrum is made worse by this slap in the face to the people of the United States.

As the U.S. Supreme Court reluctantly acknowledges the need for a code of ethics. The aftermath reveals a widening chasm between the institution and the American people. Far from instilling confidence, the proposed ethics code appears as an attempt at self-preservation. The ‘code’ fails to address the growing concerns about transparency and accountability.

Toothless Ethics Code: The People Speak

In the wake of the court’s announcement, a YouGov survey conducted for Demand Justice lays bare the public’s discontent. With 74% of voters advocating for Congress to pass a more stringent code of ethics, the Justices failed to win. The call for accountability extends beyond mere rhetoric. A growing demand for thorough investigations into the intricate ties between justices and partisan megadonors is afoot.

Toothless Ethics Code: Dismal Approval Ratings

Navigator Research’s recent survey underscores the bleak reality of the court’s standing. Only 42% of respondents express a favorable view. More concerning is the 48% unfavorability. These numbers, coupled with a majority (53%) expressing a profound lack of trust in the court’s ability to make unbiased decisions.

Toothless Ethics Code: Support for Reform

The discontent resonates in the overwhelming support for comprehensive reforms. A notable 66% of respondents back the introduction of term limits for Supreme Court justices. This signals a desire for a more dynamic and responsive judiciary. Moreover, an unequivocal 68% lend their support to congressional investigations into ethics abuses. This underscores the urgent need for transparency and accountability. The call for a new code of conduct goes beyond symbolism. People are now demanding stricter financial disclosure rules. Most telling is the desire for a mechanism for formal complaints to be investigated by judges from lower courts.

Toothless Ethics Code: Marquette Law School Poll

Even before the feeble ethics code was announced, the Marquette Law School Poll revealed a disheartening 59% disapproval rating, surpassing the discontent expressed in September (57%). This persistent negative trend underscores the urgent need for the court to heed the concerns of the public.

A Toothless Fig-Leaf

The much-anticipated unveiling of the ethics code has only intensified skepticism. Described by the Associated Press as having “no means of enforcement” and labeled “toothless” by The New York Times, the code stands as a symbolic gesture rather than a substantive commitment to ethical standards.

Toothless Ethics Code: Expert Critiques

The criticism extends beyond public sentiment, with a Harvard Law Professor branding the code a “self-excusing ethics code.” This pointed critique from a legal expert adds weight to the growing consensus that the court’s attempt at self-regulation falls woefully short.

Toothless Ethics Code: Media Disapproval

Media outlets, typically measured in their critiques, have not minced words. The New York Times editorial board calls for more effort, asserting that the court must go beyond superficial gestures to regain public trust. A columnist in The Hill dismisses the code as a cosmetic measure, doing little to enhance ethical standards.

Toothless Ethics Code: Senate Republican Indifference

Perhaps most disconcerting is the apparent indifference of Senate Republicans, seemingly content with a toothless code that raises questions about their commitment to upholding ethical standards, especially when it aligns with their political objectives.


The Supreme Court’s feeble attempt at an ethics code is not just a missed opportunity; it is a blatant disregard for the public’s demand for genuine reform. If the court wishes to bridge the growing divide, it must move beyond symbolic gestures and embark on a sincere journey toward transparency and accountability. The American people deserve a judiciary that reflects their values and actively engages with their concerns, not a self-excusing charade that further erodes trust in the institution.

By Politics-as-Usual

Roger is a retired Professor of language and literacy. Over the past 15 years since his retirement, Roger has kept busy with reading, writing, and creating landscape photographs. In this time of National crisis, as Fascist ideas and policies are being introduced to the American people and ignored by the Mainstream Press, he decided to stand up and be counted as a Progressive American with some ideas that should be shared with as many people who care to read and/or participate in discusssions of these issues. He doesn't ask anyone to agree with his point of view, but if entering the conversation he demands civility. No conspiracy theories, no wild accusations, no threats, no disrespect will be tolerated. Roger monitors all comments and email communication. That is the only rule for entering the conversation. One may persuade, argue for a different point of view, or toss out something that has not been discussed so long as the tone remains part of a civil discussion. Only then can we find common ground and meaningful democratic change.

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