Judges Code of Conduct Improvement Strategies Essay

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Judicial Impropriety in United States Supreme Court



A judicial impropriety occurs when a judge disregards existing legal standards expected of him /her when they are discharging their roles during judicial proceedings. For instance, a judge who does not base his or her ruling on the evidence provided and the applicable laws but disregards a defendant while giving undue advantage to the prosecutor or the litigant commits judicial impropriety (Leyland & Anthony, 2016). Judicial impropriety has been reported Judiciary of the United States on several occasions. For instance, Judge Sharon Keller of the Court of Appeal in Texas was accused of judicial impropriety when he ordered the closure of the courtroom by 5 pm. She did so with the intention of blocking an appeal by a person sentenced to execution (Equal Justice Initiative, 2015). Such cases exemplify the extent of judicial impropriety in the American judicial system.



Several factors contribute to the impropriety in the American judicial system. The first one relates to the method used in bringing the judges to office. At the state and federal level, judges come to office through an election system. Elections as a way of choosing judges greatly compromise their objectivity in carrying out their judicial duties. The process of campaigning requires enormous resources, and each judge may not have. Consequently, they largely rely on financial support from different people and groups with the promise of favorable judicial determinations. Consequently, the elected ones are often under political influence and may not be objective leading to judicial impropriety (Taylor & Denyer, 2014). Therefore, the appointment of judges via committee would be a solution to this threat of judicial impropriety. The committee would vet every applicant and choose judges on merit. This will eliminate a feeling of indebtedness that would compromise their objectivity in undertaking their judicial functions. Moreover, it will ensure that only judges of high integrity and highest academic and moral qualifications are appointed.

Although the committee can potentially suffer from graft issues, several stop-gap measures can help to prevent this graft. First, the committee should constitute of people with proven records of high integrity. A member of this committee should ensure that they are not accused of any ethical or moral misconduct.

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It also ensures that the public has trust in the integrity and the competency of the committee members. Secondly, the committee should comprise of people from diverse backgrounds. The strategy ensures that when a section of the committee is battling graft issues, the other section is flawless and able to check the other faction. Thirdly, there should be strict legal provisions that outline consequences for graft among the committee members. The consequences of any impropriety and compromise by graft must be so dire to prevent any person from engaging in such an action. Although graft can potentially compromise the committee, the stop-gap measures will prevent such influence and ensure objectivity in the process of appointing judges.



The American Constitution has provided recourse for a judge who violates the constitution and the rule of law. For instance, a person who fails to obtain justice from a court of law has the right to seek redress at the Court of Appeal and ultimately at the Supreme Court. This systematic system enables one to seek equality when he or she feels that the lower court has violated the provisions of the constitution and the existing law (Sharpe, 2010). Secondly, judges who violate the provisions of the constitution in their judgment and overall conduct must face prosecution. Whereas judicial immunity covers judges’ judicial functions, it does not cover their criminal activity. Judges who perpetrate judicial impropriety must face the full arm of the law. In the case of Scheuer v. Rhodes (1974), the US Supreme Court observed that when a judge violates the provisions of the Constitution, he or she puts himself or herself in a position that conflicts the superior power than what the constitution provides (Leyland & Anthony, 2016). Consequently, such a judge ought to be stripped off his or official power and face the legal consequences of their actions in their capacity.



Where a judge offers a dishonest ruling or abuses his or her discretion, the United States Constitution outlines a set of legal consequences. The constitution provides for the formation of an investigative committee to look into the complaints against the conduct of judicial….....

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References

Carmona, C. G. (2014). Enhancing the Capacity of Judges to Resolve Election Disputes. SSRN Electronic Journal, 1(2), 112-135.

Equal Justice Initiative (2015). Arkansas Supreme Court Holds Miller v. Alabama Is Retroactive. Equal Justice Initiative. Retrieved from https://eji.org/news/arkansas-holds-miller-v-alabama-is-retroactive

Faragher, C. (2015). Grounds for judicial review: procedural impropriety, natural justice, and legitimate expectation. Public Law Concentrate, 165-178.

Leyland, P., & Anthony, G. (2016). 17. Procedural impropriety II: common law rules. Textbook on Administrative Law (DRAFT), 394-440.

Sharpe, S. (2010). Judicial Discretion and Investigative Impropriety. The International Journal of Evidence & Proof, 1(2), 149-158.
Taylor, N., & Denyer, J. R. (2014). Judicial Management of Juror Impropriety. The Journal of Criminal Law, 78(1), 43-64.

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