Friday, February 09, 2007
At a moment when judicial independence is under heightened political attack, the nation’s legal establishment should be doing everything it can to shore up public trust. Instead, the special commission charged with recommending revisions to the Model Code of Judicial Conduct of the American Bar Association has been flip-flopping around on some of the most important aspects of the code, which the states use to set standards for their courts.
For decades, the code’s overarching charge to judges has been to avoid not only actual impropriety, but also the appearance of impropriety. Recently, however, quietly adopted changes to the commission’s “final” report demoted this gold standard of judicial conduct from an enforceable rule to a mere aspirational guideline.
Perhaps it hasn't occurred to the Times that the reason that judicial independence is under heightened political attack is because the Moral Code of Judicial Conduct of the American Bar Association is being, how do you say, chopped into little pieces.