A Good Step for Judicial Accountability
Federal judges took three important steps yesterday toward becoming more accountable to the litigants before them. First, the Judicial Conference of the United States, the policy-making arm of the federal courts, decided to require all lower court judges to use a special computer program designed to ferret out more conflicts-of-interest that judges may have in any particular case. The Judicial Conference also voted to prohibit judges from accepting invitations to privately-funded seminars unless the folks running the seminars publicly disclose the invitation first.
Finally, as the Post is reporting this morning, "a panel headed by Justice Stephen G. Breyer released a report (endorsed by Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Jr.) acknowledging that judges failed to properly investigate complaints of misconduct by colleagues in five of 17 `high visibility cases' between 2001 and 2005 -- an error rate the report called `far too high.'" When the Supreme Court speaks about such things, lower court judges listen.
The moves, taken together or separately, should take at least a little bit of the steam out of efforts by conservative legislators to impose their own sets of restrictions upon judicial conduct. And, thankfully, we may have just seen the end of all the silly talk on Capitol Hill about creating a legislatively-controlled Inspector General to monitor the conduct of federal judges. Congress has enough ethics problems to worry about-- enough conflicts of interest to be mindful of-- it should allow the judiciary to police itself. And on Tuesday, the judiciary did.
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Posted by: REKHA DAYAL | September 20, 2006 12:27 PM
Posted by: http://eTechSupport.net | September 20, 2006 12:31 PM
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