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US Supreme Court announces first formal ethics code

WASHINGTON: The US Supreme Court on Monday (Nov 13) adopted its first formal code of conduct governing the ethical behavior of its nine justices, bowing to months of outside pressure over revelations of undisclosed luxury trips and hobnobbing with wealthy benefactors.

The court released its code “to set out succinctly and gather in one place the ethics rules and principles that guide the conduct of the members of the court,” according to a brief introductory statement.

Unlike other members of the federal judiciary, the Supreme Court’s nine life-tenured justices had long acted with no binding ethics code.

That absence, the statement said, “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. 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”.

The court has been buffeted for months by revelations regarding justices over undisclosed trips on private jets, luxury vacations, real estate and recreational vehicle deals, and more.

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