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The Supreme Court adopts first-ever code of ethics

The U.S. Supreme Court is adopting a code of ethics for justices.
Catie Dull
/
NPR
The U.S. Supreme Court is adopting a code of ethics for justices.

The U.S. Supreme Court is adopting a code of ethics for its justices — a first — amid mounting criticism of gifts and trips from wealthy benefactors to certain justices.

In an unsigned statement, the justices said though there has been no formal code, they have long abided by certain standards.

"The absence of a Code, however, has led in recent years to the misunderstanding that the Justices of this Court, unlike all other jurists in this country, regard themselves as unrestricted by any ethics rules," they wrote. "To dispel this misunderstanding, we are issuing this Code, which largely represents a codification of principles that we have long regarded as governing our conduct."

Public trust in the court has fallen amid revelations that Justice Clarence Thomas received gifts and travel from Harlan Crow, a Republican donor. Others, including Justice Samuel Alito, have also been criticized.

This story will be updated.

Copyright 2023 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Annie Gersh
Nina Totenberg is NPR's award-winning legal affairs correspondent. Her reports air regularly on NPR's critically acclaimed newsmagazines All Things Considered, Morning Edition, and Weekend Edition.