Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett recently said she supports establishing a code of conduct for the high court amid calls for more oversight for justices following a series of ethics controversies.
During a discussion at the University of Minnesota Law School on Monday, Barrett said rules could help the court show the American people that they are committed to a set of principles.
“I think it would be a good idea for us to do it, particularly so that we can communicate to the public exactly what it is that we’re doing in a clearer way than perhaps we have been able to do so far,” she said.
Barrett noted that justices already follow statutes that cover all judges, including the Supreme Court, like filing financial disclosure forms.
She added that personally, she abides by the same rules she did as a judge on the appeals court and said her fellow eight members do the same.
Barrett also disputed the notion that the justices disagree over the need to create an ethics code.
“There is no lack of consensus among the justices,” Barrett said. “There’s unanimity among all nine justices that we should and do hold ourselves to the highest ethical standards possible.”
But Justice Elena Kagan earlier this summer had said not all justices see eye to eye on the issue.
“We’re nine freethinking individuals,” Kagan said.
Asked how long it could take for the justices to agree on a code of conduct, Barrett replied: “I can’t really speak for the court… or make any sort of guess about that.”
Barrett’s appearance at the University of Minnesota drew protesters, who called out her support for overturning the landmark Roe v. Wade decision. They were swiftly removed from the room by law enforcement.
The pressure on the high court to establish some oversight has intensified following reports detailing apparent ethical lapses by the justices.
Alito came under fire for penning an op-ed piece as a rebuttal to a ProPublica report before that article was even published. The ProPublica report detailed a 2008 luxury trip he took planned by a prominent conservative figure who was then head of the Federalist Society.
ProPublica also revealed Justice Clarence Thomas received lavish gifts and participated in a real estate deal with conservative donor Harlan Crow without disclosing it.