The Supreme Court Just Admitted That Public Pressure Is Working

Op-ed

Rakim Brooks


This excerpt is from a piece by Rakim Brooks that originally ran in Democracy Docket on December 4, 2023.

So what is the significance of the Court issuing such a code? Is an empty victory still a victory?

I believe so.

First of all, it is still historic for the justices to acknowledge that they should, in fact, be bound by a code of ethics. The Court existed for over 230 years without a code of ethics of any kind. The fact that it now has one is an admission that limits can be placed on the justices. They chose to impose some rather flimsy suggestions on themselves, but it’s nevertheless proof of concept. Instead of scrutinizing the mere nonexistence of a code, we can now scrutinize the code they have and highlight its deficiencies.

Second, the Court’s publication of this code is a sign that public pressure does work. While the code is tantamount to issuing a press release that says, “Get off our backs!”, it’s nevertheless a confession: The Court is simply unable to ignore a precipitous drop in public trust. Honor is the Court’s currency, and it can’t function if the nation perceives it as untrustworthy.

Read the complete piece.