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July 2006

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This article is in the news archives --- for current news go to the Third Branch News.


Ethics Pamphlet Designed for New Judges

New federal judges now have a specially designed pamphlet introducing them to judicial ethics. The pamphlet is entitled Ethics Essentials: A Primer for New Judges on Conflicts, Outside Activities, and Other Potential Pitfalls. The pamphlet summarizes essential standards of conduct, answers common questions, and provides examples of situations new judges are likely to encounter.

One key subject addressed is judicial disqualification. To assist judges in identifying potential conflicts of interest, the pamphlet includes checklists for financial and other interests. Also addressed is whether to accept an invitation to attend a private educational seminar. The pamphlet describes the factors (set out in Advisory Opinion No. 67) judges should consider before accepting such an invitation.

The Codes of Conduct Committee published the pamphlet in May 2006 for distribution to judicial nominees and new appointees.

“New judges are inevitably the subject of public attention,” said Judge Gordon Quist (W.D. Mich.), chair of the committee. “The pamphlet is part of an effort to provide ethics education to judges ‘early and often.’ Judges who have been on the bench for a while may also find it a useful refresher.”

You can find the pamphlet at: www.uscourts.gov/library/ethicsessentials.pdf.