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Letters to the Editor: Justice Alito says the Supreme Court is no place for ethics rules

A man with graying hair, in black judicial robes and red tie
Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr. is the first member of the Supreme Court to take a public stand against congressional proposals to toughen ethics rules for justices.
(Erin Schaff / Associated Press)
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To the editor: I absolutely believe that Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr. is correct that U.S. lawmakers lack power to impose an ethics code on the high court. And more power to all the justices in cavorting around with one another as much as they like out of the public eye!

However, there seems to be nothing stopping Congress from passing laws to require reporting of common citizens (even uncommonly wealthy ones) having any type of interaction with a justice with benefits to the judge of greater than some specified amount, with substantial penalties up to and including significant jail time.

Michael Lampel, Granada Hills

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To the editor: The Supreme Court refuses to accept a code of ethics and conduct — which other federal judges must adhere to — by using the excuse there’s no constitutional provision giving Congress the authority to regulate the justices. Then it seems reasonable to add an amendment to the Constitution that would give Congress such authority. So, thank you, Justice Alito, for bringing this to our attention. While I’m sure it will take some time to add an amendment to our Constitution, at least there’s a light at the end of the tunnel and Supreme Court justices will one day be accountable for their actions and continued corruption. Let’s keep in mind that “power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely.”

Sheryl Kinne, Van Nuys

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To the editor: Even if Justice Alito is right and Congress lacks the power to impose an ethics code on the Supreme Court, that does not mean the court itself should not voluntarily adopt a code of ethical conduct by which to govern itself. The credibility of the court, which has already been weakened by accusations of politicization, depends on it. This is the time for Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. to show some leadership.

Rochelle Popowitz, Los Angeles

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To the editor: Honorable men in high places — is that more than we could hope for, Justice Alito? Another institution demeaned; another reminder that honor is a virtue easily traded for prominence; another instance of vanity overcoming a sense of duty. Why should we listen to Alito when he takes such effort to ignore us?

Carleton Cronin, West Hollywood

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