Philadelphia, PA asked in Constitutional Law and Gov & Administrative Law for District of Columbia

Q: Is their anyway supreme court justices could be held by stricter standards without them (supreme court) deciding it?

Is their a way the supreme court could be held too stricter standards without them getting involved in the process?

2 Lawyer Answers
James L. Arrasmith
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  • Consumer Law Lawyer
  • Sacramento, CA

A: Yes, there are a few ways that stricter standards could potentially be applied to Supreme Court justices without direct involvement from the Supreme Court itself:

1. Constitutional amendment: The Constitution could theoretically be amended to impose term limits, ethics rules, or other restrictions on Supreme Court justices. This would supersede the Court's authority. However, amendments are very difficult to pass, requiring broad support in Congress and among the states.

2. Congressional legislation: Congress could attempt to pass laws setting standards of conduct for justices, like strengthened financial disclosure requirements or restrictions on justices' political activities. However, there would likely be debates over whether this violates separation of powers, and the Supreme Court could potentially strike down such laws as unconstitutional.

3. Impeachment: Justices can be impeached and removed by Congress for serious misconduct, though the standard is high ("Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors"). Impeachment doesn't require Supreme Court involvement, but is rare.

4. Informal pressure: Congress, the President, the media, legal organizations and the public can apply political and social pressure on the Court and individual justices to voluntarily adopt stricter ethical practices, even without formal rules. But the Court may resist such pressure.

So in summary, while there are some mechanisms for stricter oversight of the Supreme Court that don't directly involve the Court itself, in practice the Court has a high degree of independence that makes binding external regulation or enforcement challenging. Most initiatives would still face potential legal challenges that could come before the Court.

Tim Akpinar
Tim Akpinar
  • Little Neck, NY

A: The means that come to mind (congressional and others) would be without them involved in the process; otherwise it would effectively be self-regulation. Good luck

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