Above Reproach? The U.S. Supreme Court's Ethical Issues
Christopher J. Przemieniecki, PhD (Corresponding Author), Jana Nestlerode, JD, Carli Younce

With society scrutinizing the American criminal justice system, a standard of ethics becomes ever so important for law enforcement officials, members of the bench, and correctional personnel. Creating a code of conduct not only benefits the individual players in the criminal justice system but it also protects the integrity of each institution. Unfortunately, one of the most important judicial branches in the criminal justice system, the United States Supreme Court, does not have, nor follow an ethical code of conduct. This creates a problem for criminal justice practitioners, the media, and society. This article examines the current requirements for a sitting Supreme Court Justice when facing an ethical dilemma and addresses the steps a Justice should take. The Justices have responded by questioning the need for a code of conduct and have challenged recently proposed legislation to address ethical concerns raised by the media as it has investigated the actions and behaviors of the Justices on the High Court. Addressing the critical issue of enforcement, the authors support the oversight of an Inspector General to address ethical issues facing the members of the U.S. Supreme Court.

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