The Center for Judicial Ethics

By Gray, Cynthia | Judicature, May/June 2013 | Go to article overview

The Center for Judicial Ethics


Gray, Cynthia, Judicature


AN EVOLVING CLEARINGHOUSE

The connection between public confidence in the judiciary and judicial discipline has always resonated with AJS's mission. In October 1977, AJS established the Center for Judicial Conduct Organizations, and the Center may be best known for the Judicial Conduct Reporter, which began publication in 1979. The Center's work focuses on the judicial code adopted by each jurisdiction to establish ethical standards for judges.

Introduction

The American Judicature Society pre-dates the establishment of the earliest judicial ethics standards (1924) and the first formal judicial discipline system (1960). Although AJS did not initiate those latter movements, proponents of high ethical standards and effective, fair enforcement found a natural ally in AJS as they undertook the tricky act of balancing judicial independence, accountability, and public confidence in individual judges and the judicial system.

Creation of the Center

Prior to 1960, there were limited attempts to address judicial misconduct in some states, but they were makeshift, invoking a supreme court's inherent authority or attorney discipline power, or they were cumbersome and drastic, imposing impeachment. In 1960, California voters created the first "independent state agency responsible for investigating complaints of judicial misconduct and judicial incapacity and for disciplining judges."1 The idea of a permanent, systematic method for judicial discipline caught on. Colorado and Texas were next in 1965. By 1972, half the states and the District of Columbia had similar agencies, and, in 1989, Washington became the last state to establish a judicial conduct commission.2 Not that each commission is the same: They differ beginning with whether they are established by constitution, statute, or court rule; to the number and categories of members and the confidentiality of their proceedings; through the extent of supreme court involvement and available sanctions; and their names (using various combinations of commission, board, council, court, conduct, inquiry, discipline, qualifications, disability, performance, review, tenure, retirement, removal, responsibility, standards, advisory, fitness, and investigation).

Although punishment plays an "undeniable role" in judicial discipline,3 protecting the public, not sanctioning judges, is the primary purpose of judicial conduct commissions.

One way to protect the public is to remove the offending judge from office... [AJnother way to protect the public is to keep it informed of judicial transgressions and their consequences, so that it knows that its government actively investigates allegations of judicial misconduct and takes appropriate action when these allegations are proved. Judicial discipline thus protects the public by fostering public confidence in the integrity of a self-policing judicial system.4

The connection between public confidence in the judiciary and judicial discipline resonated with AJS's mission and created a logical relationship between conduct commissions and AJS that led AJS to encourage the establishment of conduct commissions in Judicature after California took the lead.5 Further, in 1969 (when there were 15 commissions), AJS sponsored the first National Conference for Judicial Conduct Organizations.6 The commissions were working in a new field and on their own within each state; the conference gave them a forum to discuss common concerns and learn from each other's successes and missteps. The conference (renamed the National College on Judicial Conduct and Ethics in 1992) has been held every two years or so since 1969, with the 22nd National College held in 2011 and the 23rd scheduled for October 23-25,2013, in Chicago.

At the close of the fifth conference, in 1976, several commission members and staff urged AJS to begin assisting conduct commissions regularly outside the biennial conference and to develop a clearinghouse on judicial ethics and discipline that would increase the amount of research and facilitate the sharing of information. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

The Center for Judicial Ethics
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.