AHA Proud to Support New Judicial Ethics Bill

Tell Congress to cosponsor and support the Judicial Ethics Enforcement Act of 2024!

Inserting a mechanism into law for the investigation of any wrongdoings of the Supreme Court is critical to ensuring that one of our most important and powerful democratic institutions is impartial, fair, and ethical. The American Humanist Association (AHA) is pleased that such a policy has now been introduced for the consideration of Congress by Representative Melanie Stansbury (NM-1) and Senator Richard Blumenthal (CT).

The Judicial Ethics Enforcement Act of 2024 (H.R. 8098 / S. 4176) would establish an Inspector General for the judicial branch, who would be required to conduct and supervise investigations of alleged misconduct in the judicial branch (including lower courts and the Supreme Court), be given the authority and tools to ensure investigations are thorough, and recommend changes in laws or regulations governing the judicial branch. The Inspector General would also be required to make reports on investigation results, including to Congress, the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, and the Attorney General. Read the bill here or here.

In order to begin mending both the court’s reputation of legitimacy and the American people’s tarnished trust in it, we must pass legislation that prioritizes accountability and ethics. Members of the judicial branch should be treated no differently than those in other branches of government, which are currently held to a standard of scrutiny by their own respective Inspector General offices.

Urge your elected officials to cosponsor and support the Judicial Ethics Enforcement Act of 2024.

The AHA believes it’s crystal clear that without judicial reform—including legitimate accountability and ethical standards—any progress in civil liberties and human rights that humanists care about will only be struck down by a radical court. The Judicial Ethics Enforcement Act of 2024, together with the Supreme Court Ethics, Recusal, and Transparency Act (SCERT) and the Judiciary Act, will challenge the ability of power brokers and extremist justices to get away with corruption.

“Americans have lost trust in the Supreme Court,” said Rep. Melanie Stansbury. “Strong judicial ethics are critical to a free and democratic society. We must safeguard these fundamental parts of American government to restore faith in our democracy and institutions. An Inspector General will protect the Court from special interest groups looking to strip Americans of their rights in favor of their personal agendas.”  

“Like every other federal entity, the Judiciary needs an Inspector General to deter and investigate internal wrongdoing—and restore public trust. After years of plummeting public confidence, the Courts need a watchdog to do prompt, impartial investigations of alleged conflicts of interest, improper benefits or other potential wrongdoing. Any ethics rules or code of conduct requires public accountability—otherwise it’s dead letter—as the Inspector General would provide,” said Sen. Blumenthal.

The Judicial Ethics Enforcement Act already has a strong base of support from democracy watch dogs, including many members of the Congressional Freethought Caucus (CFC) in the House. Two court reform champions, Representative Hank Johnson (GA-4) and Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (RI), are also cosponsors and supportive of the legislation. The bill is also supported by multiple advocacy organizations in addition to the AHA.

Take just a moment now to tell your Representative and Senators that NO ONE is above the law: they should cosponsor and support the Judicial Ethics Enforcement Act of 2024.