Ethics code is 'a good idea' for Supreme Court, Justice Barrett says
U.S. Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett said Monday in an appearance at the University of Minnesota Law School the justices have collegial relationships, despite disagreements in court opinions. “The fire gets put on the page, but it is not expressed in interpersonal relationships,” she said. Photo by Fred Schilling via the Supreme Court website.
Justice Amy Coney Barrett has said she supports an ethics code for the U.S. Supreme Court in an appearance Monday at the University of Minnesota Law School.
The Associated Press has coverage.
“I think it would be a good idea for us to do it, particularly so that we can communicate to the public exactly what it is that we’re doing—and in a clearer way than perhaps we have been able to do so far,” Barrett said. “I will say this, there is no lack of consensus among the justices—there is unanimity among all nine justices—that we should and do hold ourselves to the highest standards, highest ethical standards possible.”
Barrett was questioned by Robert Stein, a professor at the University of Minnesota Law School and a former executive director of the ABA, the New York Times reports.
According to the newspaper, Barrett also said:
• Supreme Court justices have collegial relationships, despite disagreements in court opinions. “The fire gets put on the page, but it is not expressed in interpersonal relationships,” she said. “We are in the building with each other. Justices have lunch every day that we have oral argument and every day after conference.”
• Asked whether the Supreme Court’s four female justices “get together,” Barrett laughed. Barrett said she learned that the high court’s newest justice, Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson, loved the musical Hamilton, so she hired a Broadway actor to serenade Jackson during a welcome party. She also said Justice Sonia Sotomayor had made Halloween candy bags for her children after Barrett was confirmed in October 2020.
• Barrett said being a justice “has its ups and downs” in response to a question about whether she enjoyed being on the high court. “Enjoying myself isn’t quite the right word that I would use. But it’s a privilege to serve, and I have no regrets about undertaking the service,” Barrett said.
• Barrett said she struggled with the impact of her rulings. She mentioned a decision denying a disability benefit to a military veteran and decisions in death penalty cases. “It’s your head, not your heart that has to make the decisions. But you should never lose sight of the fact that your decisions affect real people, and you should never lose your heart,” she said.