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VIDEO: Hirono, Colleagues Vote to Advance Legislation Requiring Supreme Court to Adopt Code of Ethics

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, during a full Senate Judiciary Committee meeting, U.S. Senator Mazie K. Hirono (D-HI) voted to advance the Supreme Court Ethics, Recusal, and Transparency Act out of committee. The bill, which Senator Hirono is an original cosponsor, would require the Supreme Court to adopt an enforceable code of ethics.  

“The highest court in the land should be setting an example, in terms of abiding by a code of ethics,” said Senator Hirono during the hearing. “We have a code of ethics in the Senate. Why shouldn’t the Supreme Court?”

The Supreme Court Ethics, Recusal, and Transparency Act, led by Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), would implement changes related to ethical standards, financial disclosure requirements, and recusal requirements that apply to Supreme Court Justices. Specifically, the bill would:

  1. Create a process for investigating misconduct at the Supreme Court;
  2. Strengthen recusal and disclosure standards for justices receiving gifts or travel; and
  3. Mandate the creation of a binding code of ethics for Supreme Court justices. 

A link to download video of Senator Hirono’s full question line is available here.

As a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Senator Hirono has consistently championed more robust ethics and accountability for the federal judiciary, including the Supreme Court. Earlier this year, she introduced the Stop Judge Shopping Act, legislation to combat “judge shopping” in federal courts by giving the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia (D.D.C.) exclusive jurisdiction over cases that would have national implications. Senator Hirono is also an original cosponsor of the Supreme Court Ethics Act, legislation that would, among other things, require a code of conduct for Supreme Court Justices. Last May, she also introduced a new version of the Twenty-First Century Court Act to promote accountability and increase transparency in federal courts. She also introduced the Judiciary Accountability Act of 2021, legislation to protect employees of the Federal judiciary from discrimination and harassment.