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Conduct commission leaders, others attend recent national judicial conduct and ethics college

Conduct commission leaders, others attend recent national judicial conduct and ethics college

November 8, 2023 -- Attendees from 32 states and Canada attended last month’s National College on Judicial Conduct and Ethics in Washington, D.C., for two days of discussions about topics such as judicial civility and demeanor, the appearance of impropriety, and how to determine the appropriate sanction.

Hosted by NCSC’s Center for Judicial Ethics (CJE), the College brought together professionals from various fields related to the judiciary—including state judicial conduct commissions, judges, and ethics advisory committee members. Faculty members included NCSC staff, leaders from state judicial discipline commissions, judges, and attorneys.

"When we bring together these experts from around the country, we are working to refine the important work done by the judges and judicial systems across the country," explained CJE Director David Sachar. “The judiciary is fueled by public confidence, and that confidence is created and nurtured by good ethical practices by judges.”

Attendees participated in sessions that focused on best practices in judicial ethics, ethical issues surrounding judges’ use of social media platforms, and on political attacks on judicial conduct commissions themselves.

While the college is not new, Sachar suggested that there is now a heightened degree of interest in judicial ethics because of the increased polarization in our political system.

“The judiciary needs to have these conversations now more than ever,” he said.

According to discipline statistics reported from 2020-22 in the Judicial Conduct Reporter, approximately 381 public state judicial discipline proceedings involving judges or former judges occurred.

Through research and training, the CJE supports judicial disciplinary commissions across the country in their work investigating complaints of judicial misconduct. For more information on judicial ethics and discipline, visit the Center for Judicial Ethics website.