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Ethics Policies

Code of Conduct for United States Judges

Federal judges must abide by the Code of Conduct for United States Judges, a set of ethical principles and guidelines adopted by the Judicial Conference of the United States. The Code of Conduct provides guidance for judges on issues of judicial integrity and independence, judicial diligence and impartiality, permissible extra-judicial activities, and the avoidance of impropriety or even its appearance.

Judges may not hear cases in which they have either personal knowledge of the disputed facts, a personal bias concerning a party to the case, earlier involvement in the case as a lawyer, or a financial interest in any party or subject matter of the case.

Many federal judges devote time to public service and educational activities. They have a distinguished history of service to the legal profession through their writing, speaking, and teaching. This important role is recognized in the Code of Conduct, which encourages judges to engage in activities to improve the law, the legal system, and the administration of justice.

Code of Conduct for United States Judges

Published Advisory Opinions

The Judicial Conference of the United States has authorized its Committee on Codes of Conduct to publish formal advisory opinions on ethical issues that are frequently raised or have broad application. These opinions provide ethical guidance for judges and judicial employees and assist in the interpretation of the codes of conduct and ethics regulations that apply to the judiciary.

Published Advisory Opinions (Guide to Judiciary Policy, Vol. 2B, Ch. 2)

Code of Conduct for Judicial Employees

Employees of the federal Judiciary are expected to observe high standards of conduct so that the integrity and independence of the Judiciary are preserved and the judicial employee's office reflects a devotion to serving the public. 

Code of Conduct for Judicial Employees

Judicial Conference Regulations

Judicial Conference Regulations on Gifts (Guide to Judiciary Policy, Vol. 2. Pt. C, Ch. 6)

Outside Earned Income, Honoraria, and Employment (Guide to Judiciary Policy, Vol. 2, Pt. C, Ch. 10)

Financial Disclosure 

Judicial officers and certain judicial employees are required to file financial disclosure reports by the Ethics in Government Act of 1978, as amended. The Judicial Conference Committee on Financial Disclosure has been delegated responsibility for managing compliance with the Act and has approved financial disclosure regulations.

Financial Disclosure Regulations (Guide to Judiciary Policy, Vol. 2D)

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