U.S. Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer spoke well of financial disclosure rules governing the Supreme Court during oral arguments Tuesday — the ironies did not escape one court watchdog.
The ethics rules governing the nation’s highest court are lax as compared to those of the other two branches of government, and those imposed on all federal judges.
No, my bigger question is why — why do all the disclosure forms we have to fill out? They have a lot of relatives. You have to put, like, your minor children, your wife. And in giving gifts, you have to disclose your minor children, your wife.
Fix the Court, a legal organization pushing the Court to adopt higher standards of accountability and transparency, was pleased by Breyer’s endorsement. However, the organization urged Congress to seize on Breyer’s comments and adopt more rigorous ethics rules. (RELATED: Justice Breyer Throws Shade At Kim K During Oral Arguments)
“For the first time in memory, a Supreme Court justice acknowledged from the bench the value of the financial disclosure rules that members of the high court must follow,” Gabe Roth, executive director of Fix the Court, told The Daily Caller News Foundation. “Congress should take note of the endorsement and go one step further next year by ensuring the jurists also abide by the same ethics, travel and stock ownership rules that the rest of the federal government follows.”
The financial disclosures the justices file are not easily accessed. To attain a disclosure, one must file a request with the Court. The disclosures, available only after several weeks, must be picked up in person. A fee is charged for the reports. Furthermore, the disclosures are not as extensive as those filed by other members of government. They do not include stock transactions, travel records, or valuable assets which are typical of financial disclosures.
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