In an effort at satire, the New to Las Vegas world headquarters has obtained the earlier drafts of the new Supreme Court ethics code announced yesterday. To avoid bias, the court in conference had asked that the first version be written by AI “in the style of John Marshall Harlan.” He was the conscience of the Supreme Court more than a century ago with his dissents favoring civil liberties and equal rights.
But since unanimity was required in the court of public opinion for the new code, the objection of any one justice required a provision to be struck. As the draft went through the review process, a large amount of extremely specific material was cut in favor of blander generalities.
Here is a purportedly leaked list of deleted passages and who vetoed them. Only Ketanji Brown Jackson, the newest justice, objected to nothing.
CANON 2(B): “A justice shall not sit in a case in which a family member within the third degree played a role in hiring advocates appearing before the court.” JOHN G. ROBERTS Jr.
CANON 4(D)(3): “A justice shall not take a seat on a private plane for personal travel without paying the going rate.” CLARENCE THOMAS, SAMUEL A. ALITO Jr.
CANON 4 (A)(b): “A justice shall not sit on a case involving the publisher of one’s book.” SONIA SOTOMAYOR.
CANON 4(D)(1): “A justice shall not sell personally owned real estate to a lawyer whose firm represents clients before the court.” NEIL M. GORSUCH, THOMAS.
CANON 4(D)(3): “A justice shall not accept forbearance of a loan.” THOMAS.
CANON 3(A): “A justice shall not leak draft opinions.” ALITO.
CANON 4(H): “A justice may not accept a meal consisting of a single bagel from long-standing friends.” ELENA KAGAN.
CANON 2(B): “A justice may not receive free financial advice on how to augment income to pay for college education of dependents.” AMY CONEY BARRETT (no kin).
CANON 4: “As part of official duties, a justice may not attend a public function with an open bar.” BRETT KAVANAUGH.
CANON 3(B)(2): “A justice shall not sit in a case involving text messages of a family member within the third degree.” THOMAS.
CANON 4(A)(2): “A justice shall not state in public that Congress lacks any authority over the Supreme Court when Article 3 Section 1 of the U.S. Constitution declares that Congress has the power to make ‘Exceptions’ and ‘Regulations’ to the court’s jurisdiction.” ALITO.
CANON 2(A): “A justice shall not sit on a case alleging criminal activity if he or she has been creditably accused of similar activities in the past.” THOMAS, KAVANAUGH.
CANON 4(A)(1): “A justice shall not use a lecture trip to an obscure law school as a pretext to enjoy a fancy hunting excursion at little personal expense.” ANTONIN SCALIA. (Yeah, I know he’s long gone, but his ghost lurks, like that of Harlan.)