A series of Supreme Court ethics scandals that started with luxury trips gifted to Justice Clarence Thomas has renewed focus on the idea of a code of conduct for the nine most powerful jurists in the nation.
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A series of bills that would require the high court to adopt a code of conduct is reopening a debate over how such guidelines might be enforced, who would do the enforcing and whether an ethics code would have actually headed off the steady stream of controversies over travel, property sales and a lack of disclosure.
"Once such a code exists, there is no simple way for it to become 'binding' or 'self-enforcing,'" said Josh Blackman, a law professor at South Texas College of Law Houston. "Each justice would still have to make their own judgment calls."
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