IN TERMS OF GOOD BEHAVIOR: OUR MODERN UNDERSTANDING OF JUDICIAL ETHICS
According to Article III of the United States Constitution, Supreme Court justices “may hold their Offices during “good Behaviour.” Canonically, this type of tenure afforded to members of the Supreme Court is interpreted as a lifetime appointment so long as justices refrain from committing impeachable offenses. However, in recent decades, it appears that several Supreme Court justices have engaged in behavior running counter to the pillars of judicial ethics: independence, impartiality, and integrity. With the Supreme Court having operated with no official ethics code for over two centuries, this thesis sets out to find the modern understanding of judicial ethics by following the behavior of Justices Sandra Day O’Connor, Antonin Scalia, and Anthony Kennedy throughout their judicial lifetimes. Close reading of C-SPAN videos, official government records, official press releases, and articles from The New York Times, Washington Post, and Wall Street Journal during the appointment processes and departures of these three justices reveals that ever since the 1980’s, when the Supreme Court appointment process was further democratized by the presence of cameras in Senate hearing rooms, verisimilitude has informed our modern interpretation of Good Behavior.
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