This article is in the news archives --- for current news go to the Third Branch News.
The first comprehensive review and revision of the Judiciary's 94 advisory
opinions on ethics has been completed. The task, which took nearly two years,
was undertaken by the Judicial Conference Committee on Codes of Conduct.
Historically, advisory opinions have been drafted by the committee in
response to inquiries from judges or judicial employees on frequently raised
issues or where an issue may have broad application. But with some opinions
dating back to the 1970s, it was not uncommon for them to include advice that
was superseded or qualified by changes in the codes of conduct, the Ethics
Reform Act of 1989, and subsequent published ad-visory opinions. Although
individual opinions had been revised over the years, this is the first time all
opinions have been scrutinized and updated.
"Some of the older opinions the committee reviewed were not entire-ly
accurate in light of changes to the various codes of conduct and conse-quently
were more likely to befuddle than enlighten their readers," said Judge Carol
Bagley Amon, chair of the Committee on Codes of Conduct. "The committee wants
judges and judicial employees to maintain the highest ethical standards, so it
is extremely important that accurate, up-to-date guidance be provided."
More than a dozen of the old advisory opinions were withdrawn. The remaining
opinions were updated or revised to reflect current codes, concepts, and laws. A
few overlapping opinions were consolidated. For example, the old advisory
opinion on law clerks' bonuses contained majority and minority views that may
have been confusing. The opinion was rewritten to streamline and clarify the
advice. In another example, two opinions covering extrajudicial compensation and
honoraria were combined.
In response to confidential inquiries from judges and judicial employees, the
Committee on Codes of Conduct provides confidential advisory opinions on the
application of the Code of Conduct for U.S. Judges and other judicial
branch codes of conduct. The committee also publishes opinions on selected
issues and recommends modifications of the various codes of conduct to the
Visit the Third Branch News for the latest news, top stories and feature articles from the Judiciary.
Search by word or phrase:
Search by month and year:
(month) January February March April May June July August September October November December (year) 2012 2011 2010 2009 2008 2007 2006 2005 2004 2003 2002 2001 2000 1999 1998 1997 1996 1995
This site is maintained by the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts on behalf of the Federal Judiciary.
The purpose of this site is to provide information from and about the Judicial Branch of the U.S. Government.