Democrats in Congress have called for “ethics reform” in the Supreme Court, which would empower Congressional oversight over the nation’s high court. Most recently, this call has centered around various flags—an upside-down American flag and a Revolutionary War flag—at Justice Alito’s home, apparently a link to unidentified January 6th attendees. 

Everyone loves the party icebreaker “two truths and a lie.” Can you identify which of these is not true about Supreme Court ethics?

A. Congressional oversight over the Supreme Court would violate our constitutional structure.
B. The Supreme Court has no code of conduct.
C. The persistent vilification of Supreme Court justices threatens to devastate the rule of law.

Let’s take these statements one at a time:

A. Truth! The Constitution establishes the judiciary and the legislature as co-equal branches. Subjecting the highest court in the judiciary to Congressional oversight would make it an inferior branch, a structure not permitted by our co-equal system of separation of powers. 

B. Lie! The Supreme Court has long held itself to identifiable ethical principles, including removing actual conflicts and apparent conflicts of interests. To help codify these rules for the American public, in November, the Justices together released THIS public code of conduct. 

C. Truth! Since late 2020, when Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) protested outside the Supreme Court threatening that the Justices “won’t know what hit” them if they ruled a certain way in an abortion case, trust in the Supreme Court has entered a tailspin. Today, less than half of Americans have trust in the Court, and almost 20 percent have zero trust.