On Sunday, December 31, 2023, Raw Story reported that Chief Justice John Roberts’ end-of-year report on the US Supreme Court failed to address ongoing ethics issues facing the institution.
Roberts’ report reflected on technological advances throughout the Court’s history but did not acknowledge public approval ratings that have fallen following last year’s highly controversial decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 ruling that had established a woman’s constitutional right to abortion. Commonly referred to as Roe, the ruling protected abortion access across the United States for nearly 50 years before being overturned by the Court in June 2022 in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, allowing states to ban the procedure once again.
The report also did not mention Justice Clarence Thomas who has been publicly criticized for undisclosed benefits received from a Republican donor with cases before the Court. While the Court adopted a new code of conduct last year, legal experts say it gives Justices too much discretion over recusal and lacks accountability.
Major cases coming before the Court in 2024 include decisions around absolute presidential immunity and whether Colorado rightly removed Donald Trump from its ballot. Some have called for Justice Thomas to recuse from these cases following his wife’s involvement in efforts to overturn the 2020 election.
The report omitted that a year ago, the Court was investigating an unprecedented leak of Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr.’s draft opinion overturning Roe v. Wade. While the investigation identified no network breaches, it did not determine who leaked the draft.
By avoiding pressing accountability and ethics issues currently facing public trust in the institution, observers say the Chief Justice’s end-of-year report does little to reassure critics or repair the Court’s damaged image as it enters a new term deciding major political cases. The omissions suggest the Court may be unwilling or unable to adequately address the controversies that have arisen within its own branches in recent years.
Source: Raw Story