Ethics Quote of the Week: Charles Geyh and Stephen Gillers

“Codes of ethics for judges fortify the administration of justice. They tell judges their ethical responsibilities and articulate high standards of conduct to which they should aspire. They assure litigants that a judge before whom they appear is committed to fairness and impartiality. They require judges to conduct their personal and professional lives in a manner that fosters respect for the courts.”

—–Law professors  Charles Geyh and Stephen Gillers, arguing in Politico for the U.S. Supreme Court to adopt a Code of Ethics.


“Codes of ethics? We don’ need no stinkin’ codes of ethics!”

The U.S. Supreme Court, it might surprise you to know, is the only court in the U.S. without a formal Code of Ethics that its judges are required to follow. The idea appears to be that if one has risen to the tippity-top of the judicial tree, one’s ethics must be impeccable as matter of course.


On Politico, Charles Geyh and Stephen Gillers make a convincing argument that SCOTUS should not only hold itself to high ethical standards, but also make it clear to all what those standards are.

You can read the entire post here.


Pointer: Legal Ethics Forum


3 thoughts on “Ethics Quote of the Week: Charles Geyh and Stephen Gillers

  1. Why would they want a code of ethics?

    Something that might prevent them from say– coaching an incompetent advocate who is defending a law from being ruled as unconstitutional because is mandates purchase of a service by practically telling him what he needs to say so the law can be ruled a tax? Even though it was passed by the legislature only because the malicious and deceptive advocates of the law then said it wasn’t a tax?

    Nah. They don’t need any such code formally declaring their objectivity.

  2. Everyone — from children to adults to corporate and governmental represents — needs a code of ethics. Without a general sense of of what is moral or ethical in our society, our society sinks into apathy, greed, crime and nonsense. Who in the world could possibly think that any one is ABOVE a code of ethics? All these respondents, I suppose. (Except you, Tex. I got yours)

    Society is based on a long list of mores — ethical and otherwise — from “Do unto others what they would have them to unto you (in childhood) and onward. Absent such basic rules of living, we would be in chaos. In fact, I think we are.

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