Spoiler: It doesn’t, actually. Kind of a big deal.
The post Finally, The Supreme Court Has A New Disclosure Rule That Will Revitalize The American People’s Trust appeared first on Above the Law.

(Photo by Collection of the Supreme Court of the United States via Getty Images)

It is common knowledge that recent trust in the Supreme Court has been at an all time low. So low, in fact, that the legitimacy of the decisions doesn’t hold as much water as it used to. The idea used to be that, despite ideological differences, the people in the black robes could put aside their biases long enough to channel unbiased justice into the quills they used to write their rulings. Was this ever really the case? Probably not, but the fantasy of neutrality is what kept belief in the Court together. Now, not so much, what with all the clear pandering to political parties, proximity to insurrection, and general unruliness from the rule enforcers. Thankfully, that last bit is coming to an end — prepare for some judicial accountability! From Reuters:

U.S. Supreme Court justices and federal judges must now provide greater public disclosure of any free trips, meals or gifts they receive under new regulations adopted at the urging of lawmakers and judicial transparency advocates.

The head of the federal judiciary’s administrative arm confirmed the change in a letter made public on Tuesday by Democratic U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, who has argued for broader ethics reforms at the Supreme Court.

“These new rules will make it much harder for justices to travel, dine, hunt or vacation for free at the private resort of a wealthy corporate executive – especially one with business before their court – and avoid disclosing that information to the public,” Whitehouse said in a statement.

…That’s it? Amy Coney Barrett has to report the next time some FedSoc suit gifts her a Chick-Fil-A sandwich before she rules on if conversion therapy is constitutional or not now? Thankfully, this appears to be a “bit of progress is better than nothing” move rather than a “the war is won” celebration. Whitehouse and others still have their eyes on the prize.

[Whitehouse] and other Democrats in Congress have also introduced legislation that would require the Supreme Court to adopt a code of ethics, strengthen recusal standards for judges and bolster financial disclosure requirements.

Whitehouse…said the judiciary’s disclosure rules had long been more relaxed than other branches of government, particularly when it came to defining what constituted “personal hospitality” that judges did not have to disclose.

Recusal standards with some actual teeth will likely have more impact on future jurisprudence than Alito having to loudly announce each time some executive takes him to Ruth’s Chris. And as appreciated as it is for Justice Jackson to suspend judgement when she ought, legitimacy won’t be strengthened by her being the only one who decides to do so of their own volition.

US Supreme Court Justices Get Tougher Rules For Reporting Free Trips, Gifts [Reuters]

Chris Williams became a social media manager and assistant editor for Above the Law in June 2021. Prior to joining the staff, he moonlighted as a minor Memelord™ in the Facebook group Law School Memes for Edgy T14s.  He endured Missouri long enough to graduate from Washington University in St. Louis School of Law. He is a former boatbuilder who cannot swim, a published author on critical race theory, philosophy, and humor, and has a love for cycling that occasionally annoys his peers. You can reach him by email at cwilliams@abovethelaw.com and by tweet at @WritesForRent.