For Immediate Release
Contact: David Reinbold, firstname.lastname@example.org
(Washington, D.C., November 15, 2023) — Today, the American Humanist Association (AHA) released a statement addressing the unimpressive Code of Conduct issued by the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS).
On Monday, November 13, 2023, in response to growing pressure to hold the court and its Justices accountable, SCOTUS published a so-called Code of Conduct for the Justices on the bench of the highest court in the land. The Code of Conduct, amongst a plethora of other pitfalls, laughably claims the Justices presently adhere to ethical standards, does not contain any indication of admonishing ongoing nefarious conduct that clearly violates the guidelines, and is worded to seemingly permit Justices to hold membership in organizations that discriminate against the LGBTQIA+ community.
The work that organizations such as the AHA are undertaking to shine a light on corruption on the Supreme Court is having an impact and putting pressure on Chief Justice John Roberts to act, and it must be made clear that this Code of Conduct is unbinding, unenforceable, and contains no mechanism to ensure accountability and transparency in the nation’s highest court. In short, the released document is lacking, empty, toothless, and useless.
The AHA stands in steadfast solidarity with civil society organizations urging the Senate Judiciary Committee to continue their work addressing the corruption and partisanship that has proliferated within the halls of the American judiciary. We urge Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Senator Dick Durbin to follow through with subpoenaing dark-money, far-right billionaires who are bankrolling the Supreme Court and implore Congress to pass the Supreme Court Ethics, Recusal, and Transparency Act immediately.
“In light of news that the Senate Judiciary Committee will be issuing subpoenas to the Court’s billionaire buddies Harlan Crow and Leonard Leo, the Supreme Court is in a panic,” said the AHA’s Legal and Policy Director Lily Bolourian. “The Code of Conduct issued this week by the SCOTUS Justices is simply theatre, and a pathetic attempt at quelling the voices of advocates demanding real accountability and a return to the judicial branch’s critical role as a protector of secular democracy. While the AHA is glad the Justices are feeling the pressure, this move by the Court falls short of meaningfully addressing the Justices’ corrupt behavior and should be seen as little more than a PR move.
“For the Justices to suggest that years of documented corruption, malfeasance and impropriety are simply a ‘misunderstanding’ on behalf of advocates is insulting,” continued Bolourian. “If the Justices truly adhered to any semblance of ethical conduct guidelines—whether de jure or de facto—the need for judicial reform would not be an urgent and non-negotiable priority for the majority of Americans. This Code is completely inadequate, and its release should not stop the Senate Judiciary Committee’s critical work.”
The American Humanist Association (AHA) works to protect the rights of humanists, atheists, and other nontheistic Americans. The AHA advances the ethical and life-affirming worldview of humanism, which—without beliefs in gods or other supernatural forces—encourages individuals to live informed and meaningful lives that aspire to the greater good of humanity.
The Center for Freethought Equality (CFE) is the advocacy arm of the American Humanist Association dedicated to lobbying and political advocacy. The CFE significantly increases humanist activity in key Washington coalitions, and has established a permanent lobbyist on the Hill that fights for issues secular Americans care about like the separation of church and state and protecting civil liberties.