Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer on Monday blasted the new code of ethics issued by the Supreme Court, calling it a “step in the right direction” but also noting “a glaring omission.”
In a statement, Schumer noted that the code includes “critical rules to prevent improper behavior,” such as requiring justices to recuse themselves from cases when their impartiality may be questioned.
But, Schumer said, the code ignores a separate ethical concern that has been raised by some in light of the court’s decision to hear a challenge to the 2020 presidential election results: “whether justices should recuse themselves if their impartiality might reasonably be questioned due to alleged partisan statements or affiliations.”
Schumer noted that the Supreme Court has previously acknowledged this ethical obligation and included it in its prior ethics code, and that four of the current justices had even pointed to the rule in their dissenting opinions in the election challenge.
“It is deeply concerning that this extremely important ethical rule protecting a justice’s impartiality was not included in the new code,” Schumer said. “A justice’s impartiality is paramount, and any action that might call it into question must be avoided.”