Ethics of a Federal Judge and Politics

Michael Lodge

by Michael Lodge

Over the past few days a member of the Supreme Court made disparaging remarks about a Republican political candidate for President.  She went a little too far as a Judge sitting on the bench of the Supreme Court, in fact what she did was unethical to the standards of ethics of Judges of the Federal Court System.  I found the codes on Judges that states what a Federal Judge is not able to do – politically.

Canon 5: A Judge Should Refrain from Political Activity

(A) General Prohibitions. A judge should not:

(1) act as a leader or hold any office in a political organization;

(2) make speeches for a political organization or candidate, or publicly endorse or oppose a candidate for public office; or

(3) solicit funds for, pay an assessment to, or make a contribution to a political organization or candidate, or attend or purchase a ticket for a dinner or other event sponsored by a political organization or candidate.

(B) Resignation upon Candidacy. A judge should resign the judicial office if the judge becomes a candidate in a primary or general election for any office.

(C) Other Political Activity. A judge should not engage in any other political activity. This provision does not prevent a judge from engaging in activities described in Canon 4.

COMMENTARY

The term “political organization” refers to a political party, a group affiliated with a political party or candidate for public office, or an entity whose principal purpose is to advocate for or against political candidates or parties in connection with elections for public office.

The web site to go to is:  CODE OF CONDUCT

Now why is this important to all of us?  A good example is the election of Bush when he ran against Gore.  It had to go to the Supreme Court to make a decision on what had happened in Florida.  Now what would have happened if a Supreme Court Judge had made a negative comment on Bush or Gore?  That Judge would have to relieve themselves from hearing the case because the Judge had already made a negative statement on the Candidate.  If the same thing happens in the current election and it has to go to the Supreme Court one of the Judges will have to excuse themselves from hearing the case.

Thus, the Justice system is tainted by a Judge making a disparaging political remark on a candidate.  Over the past few days with the hearing on the FBI, the issues with the Department of Justice, and now with the statements of the Justice on the Supreme Court you have to wonder if our justice system has fallen into the hands of politicians and that Justice is so tainted by politics that there is no longer an independence and a division from politics.  We as Americans should watch this very closely.

These are my personal views on the Justice system.