An open letter to Justices Court.
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  2. Letter

An Open Letter

To: Justices Court

From: A verified voter in Los Angeles, CA

May 24

The integrity of the Supreme Court is supposed to be a bulwark against abuse of power of the other branches of our government and attacks upon the Constitution. Until the Court was thrown out of balance by Donald Trump with the appointment of three justices, two of which were appointed under questionable circumstances, I never questioned the integrity of it. Now, with the ethical lapses of two of its long-serving members, and the derogation of the principle of settled law, I’m finding my confidence shaken. Last year, in response to criticism of the Court for not having a code of ethics, the Justices passed a Code of Conduct based on common sense, prior practice, and common law ethics rules. However, it is little more than a fig leaf, as it is rife with “should” and “may,” which reduce the canons to mere recommendations. Canon 3.B. says, “A Justice should disqualify himself or herself in a proceeding in which the Justice’s impartiality might reasonably be questioned, that is, where an unbiased and reasonable person who is aware of all relevant circumstances would doubt that the Justice could fairly discharge his or her duties.” I consider myself to be an “unbiased and reasonable person who is aware of all relevant circumstances,” and I question the impartiality of Justices Alito and Thomas. If Canon 3.B. had any effect at all, Justices Alito and Thomas would have recused themselves from any cases regarding Donald Trump. I believe that Justices Alito and Thomas have failed to live up to any semblance of ethical behavior. Not only have their poor judgment and lack of personal integrity been brought to the fore by their apparent tacit approval of their wives’ political actions, but the revelations of lavish trips and accommodations paid for by people and entities with cases before the Court at the very least bear the bold appearance of impropriety. The continuing presence of these two Justices on the Court diminishes the Court’s objectivity and integrity. I respectfully request that you recommend that Justices Alito and Thomas retire from their positions as Supreme Court Justices. They could perhaps do so without incurring further scrutiny of their actions, and could put the criticism of the Court for coddling them to rest. The vacancies they would create would allow President Biden to appoint two new Justices, thereby rebalancing the Court and obviating the need to do so by expanding it. The Supreme Court is far too critical to our democracy to allow it to fall victim to outside influences. As Chief Justice, your legacy is important also, and you should be guided by what you want it to be. Associate Justices who put their own interests ahead of the Court’s are not only tarnishing that legacy, but more consequentially, they’re causing irreparable harm to the institution and our nation.

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