Supreme Court’s Roberts Says Judges Must be Ethical After Over 100 Caught Violating Rule

By Zachary Stieber | Epoch Times |

The Supreme Court justices, standing, from left, Brett M. Kavanaugh, Elena Kagan, Neil M. Gorsuch and Amy Coney Barrett; seated, from left, Samuel A. Alito Jr., Clarence Thomas, Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr., Stephen Breyer and Sonia Sotomayor. (Fred Schiller / U.S. Supreme Court)

The chief justice of the Supreme Court in his year-end report called on federal judges to work hard to adhere to ethics rules after over 100 were caught violating a rule that requires judges recuse in any matter in which they have a personal financial interest.

Chief Justice John Roberts cited (pdf) a Wall Street Journal investigation that uncovered violations by 131 federal judges across 685 cases between 2010 and 2018.

The George W. Bush nominee portrayed the number of violations as small, noting that they represented less than three-hundredths of one percent of the 2.5 million civil cases filed in the district courts in years studied.

“Let me be crystal clear: the Judiciary takes this matter seriously. We expect judges to adhere to the highest standards, and those judges violated an ethics rule. But I do want to put these lapses in context,” he said.

The wording drew a response by James Grimaldi, one of the Journal investigators, who said his team investigated tens of thousands of cases, not 2.5 million.

“The Jour­nal’s ini­tial tally was an undercount; it was impossible because of the peculiarities of the judiciary’s financial-disclosure process and incomplete information available on case litigants,” Grimaldi wrote on Twitter, adding that Roberts’ comment “is technically accurate, the suggestion that we could review millions of cases is misleading.”

The Journal said Friday that subsequent reporting raised the rally to at least 950 violations.

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