Ethics codes provide visible guidelines to clarify a court’s mission and values. They also demonstrate a court’s commitment to the fair administration of justice. Comprehensive ethics programs that include handbooks, periodic training, ethics hotlines, and procedures for anonymous reporting of misconduct strengthen a court’s response to ethical dilemmas.
Links to related online resources are listed below. Non-digitized publications may
be borrowed from the NCSC Library; call numbers are provided.
This study offers comparative analysis of how major judicial ethics codes in the United States of America address four ethical considerations that can arise in the context of judicial cooperation in the management of multi-jurisdiction cases. It also offers charts showing correspondence and similarity between state code sections and model code sections, as well as tables showing the relevant sections of each state code concerning the four ethical considerations.
Professor Bam claims persuasively that we in the field have been ineffectively emphasizing the substantive recusal standards and the actual recusal results in specific cases. As he explains, “[f]ocusing on the final recusal decision, and considering appearances only at the time of that decision, places too much emphasis on an aspect of recusal that may not be so important, at least when it comes to public confidence in the impartiality and fairness of American courts."
The Rules of the Code of Judicial Conduct are rules of reason that should be applied consistent with constitutional requirements, statutes, other court rules, and decisional law, and with due regard for all relevant circumstances.
How do different generations view their role in the court workplace? Answering this question, and others, could be crucial for making the courts more attractive as a career and increasing public trust and confidence in the judicial system.
This article details the different role that judges in problem-solving courts play as opposed to traditional judges, and examines the 2007 ABA Model Code in reference to problem-solving courts, specifically the unique ethical dilemmas judges in these courtrooms are prone to face.
This article examines the disciplinary process in place to deal with judges partaking in unethical behavior, arguing that these incidents should be dealt with publicly to ensure honesty and public knowledge, and discusses the adoption of "sunshine laws" by 35 states.
This article examines the course of progression courts have made in attempt to increase the access to justice for pro se litigants, arguing that the increase in the self-represented litigant population in the courts is a widespread and continuing trend and one that is reflected in rule changes enacted in the last decades.
This article discusses the Federal Judicial Center's goal of increasing the sensitivity of judges' in regards to ethical matters, and the effectivness of this goal implemented through the development of an ethics curricula for in-person programs and both hard-copy and online resources in addition to television programs.
This article describes the makeup, the procedures and the processes that lead to the founding of the ABA Joint Commission, which revised the ABA Model Code in 2007, as well as analyzes and discusses the significant changes from the previous Model Code regarding format, and proposed principle modifications.
This article examines how the lawyers' code of ethics and the code of judicial conduct work together to evaluate behavior of both lawyers and judges when cases of misconduct arise, through the analysis of the 1977 incident in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit, where lawyers utilized ex parte communications to try to influence a case regarding the Truth in Lending Act and the Federal Reserve Board Rule Z.
This article tackles the root and growth of the ABA Canons of Judicial Ethics, the resulting transformation of the Canons into the ABA Model Code of Judicial Conduct, and the application and adoption of the ABA Model Code by the federal judiciary in the twentieth century, claiming there is a profound divergence between the federal ethics rules and the ABA Model Code stemming from the 1990s, a trend that is predicted to continue into the future.
In examining the decision of the Judicial Council of the Second Circuit concerning the conduct of a judge, this article examines the balance between the right to free speech and the necessity of impartial judges.
This article analyzes the 2007 ABA Model Code from the perspective of a lawyer who defends judges, arguing from the bias that overall the new code improves the process, while some of the problems from this viewpoint are identified and discussed.
This note weighs judicial conduct against free speech in Mississippi where a county justice made some disparaging remarks about gays and lesbians.
This article examines the effects of Republican Party of Minnesota v. White during the 2006 election cycle, where White truly came into his own, analyzing the "pledges-and-promises," "commit," and "recusal" clauses, and discussing various cases, the relevant canons, the issues with standing to sue, and the outlook for future election cycles based on the findings from 2006.
This article discusses the deabte over whether or not judicial candidates should voice their opinions on political issues, noting the discrepancy between the Supreme Cour ruling, Republican Party of Minnesota v. White and the state rules, known as "pledges-and-promises" clauses and "commits" clauses, and analyzes how the White decision has affected extrajudicial speech, as well as the responses from states and the ABA on the matter.
This resource for judicial candidates addresses issues such as avoiding partisan political activity; becoming a candidate; political activity that is permissible; fund-raising and use of campaign funds; communicating with voters; involving friends, family and colleagues in judicial campaigning; and post-election fund-raising.
This article discusses two of the most controversial and substantial 2007 changes to the ABA Model Code, the process of judicial election races, and the protocol for judges regarding political affiliation once in office, and analyzes lingering problems with the new Model Code.
This article analyzes contemporary jurisprudence regarding the amount of speech for judges, the lack of clarity in current case law, the institutional role of judges that inherently creates controversy, the changes that have been made, including legislative ramifications, and the responses of affected people, organizations, institutions, regarding extrajudicial speech.
This article examines how the various state Supreme Courts have implemented the decision in Republican Party v. White, analyzing the disparity in responses by court level, the variety of contributing factors shaping states' reactions, and the effects of the White decision and this widespread spectrum of responses.
This article contemplates the role and the contribution of judicial campaign oversight committees, in regards to upholding ethical conduct through the process of judicial elections and historical examples of how these committees have participated in the past.
This issue highlights the "Call To Action" statement that came out of the Summit on Improving Judicial Selection.
In the past few years the Second Circuit took the extraordinary step of removing two immigrant judges from case for evincing inappropriate behavior and conduct toward asylum seekers in their courts. As a consequence, in each case the Second Circuit vacated and remanded these judges' decisions and ordered that further proceedings continue from different immigration judges. While the two cases are factually different, and indeed the behavior of one of these immigrant judges seems somewhat more egregious than the other, they are remarkable in that the removal of judges for inappropriate conduct is not all that common a remedy.
The article discusses the stipulations of the 2007 ABA Model Code concerning disqualification due to intolerable conflicts of interest, and details two ways to resolve these conflicts of interest through judicial disclosure, and sanctions for disqualifying conditions, while arguing the need for more guidance in the Code regarding the issue.
This article discusses clauses and judges' responsibility to ensure fairness and impartiality, analyzing the lack of clarity surrounding recusal requirements, the lack of formal disqualification procedures in many states, the statute laying out recusal, the system's dependence on self-recusal and the difficulty with this, and finally judicial misconduct due to the failure to recuse and what behaviors cross the line of ethical conduct.
This article discusses the rule of necessity as applied in Ignacio when all the judges of the Ninth Circuit were listed as defendants thus forcing some of the judges to remain on the case.
This article examines under what circumstances a justice of a state supreme court can be removed and on what grounds can members of that same judiciary exercise authority to sanction and remove any such justice.
Judges often need advice about whether their actions both on and off the bench comply with the highest standards of judicial ethics. Many states use judicial ethics advisory committees to provide judges with that guidance.
This article details the process judicial conduct organizations employ to investigate, prosecute, and adjudicate complaints of judicial misconduct, discussing sanctions, confidentiality, committee membership, supreme court review, and the high dismissal rate.
The article considers the system utilized by the judiciary to deal with complaints of judicial misconduct, and examines the findings of a committee chaired by Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer, in the aftermath of the Judicial Councils Reform and Judicial Conduct and Disability Act of 1980, the 2002 amendments, and the addition to the United States Code, Chapter 16.
This article discusses First Amendment Rights of judges' clerks who are terminated from their position because of caustic comments they make to the judges who employ them in the case of Sheppard v. Beerman which involved such a situation.
The Call To Action was issued by the participants in the National Summit on Improving Judicial Selection, held on December 8-9, 2000 in Chicago, Illinois. This new edition of the Call To Action provides a commentary that introduces the four sections of the Call To Action and provides background on the 20 recommendations.
This presentation was given at the National College of Probate Judges' 2002 Fall Conference. It discusses the ABA Model Canons and raises questions on judge's participation in volunteer work, fundraising activities, and educational programs funded by businesses, foundations or other non-governmental entities.
This publication covers confidentiality, conflicts of interest, outside legal activities, dealings with prospective employers, outside professional, social and community activities, and receipt of gifts and honoraria. It also provides an ethics checklist for federal judicial law clerks.
This article addresses the needs for court interpreter ethics programs, strategies for implementing such programs as well as information on existing court interpreter ethics programs.
This Web site outlines the Wisconsin code and provides commentary. Topics include: accuracy and completeness, representation of qualifications, impartiality and avoidance of conflict of interest, professional demeanor, confidentiality, restriction on public comment, scope of practice, assessing and reporting of impediments to performance, duty to report ethical violations, and professional development.
The OGE provides information on the latest developments in the Office of Government Ethics, laws and regulations, advisory opinions, training modules and seminars, forms, and publications. Technical assistance for ethics is also available.