The Wall Street Journal has laid out the present abuse. DC Circuit nominee Justin Walker is up for confirmation hearings this week. Now recall how the so-called watchdog of judicial ethics, the Codes of Conduct Committee tried to get potential judges disqualified from their nominations for the apostasy of belonging to the Federalist Society. There was considerable blowback over the Committee’s draft rule that would have affected the bar: 210 appellate and district judges signed a letter to the Committee demurring from the rule.
One of those letter signers was…Justin Walker. Now the Left, including particularly Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D, RI), who is a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, wants to use that letter as the reason to disqualify Walker from the DC Circuit confirmation.
Note, now, that the Committee’s draft rule remains in draft; it has not been withdrawn from consideration. At this point, the WSJ exposed a surprising naivete.
Chief Justice John Roberts is the official head of the Judicial Conference, and he should call Judge [Codes of Conduct Committee Chairman Ralph] Erickson and tell him to kill this draft forthwith.
Roberts has shown himself too timid and too mindful of his image in the press to make such a call.
On the other hand, his call isn’t strictly necessary: the Codes of Conduct Committee is a committee of the Judicial Conference of the United States. The latter, in turn, is a creation of the Congress.
It would be straightforward for an honest Congress to rein in the Code of Conduct Committee, to disband it altogether, to alter the Judicial Conference, to disband that body altogether, or to otherwise reform the Judicial Conference so as to eliminate abuses like those of its subordinate committees.
On the third hand, reform is especially difficult with the present House.
Look for an especially vitriolic “hearing” by the Judiciary Committee’s Progressive-Democrat members.