Skip to content
Noah Feldman

Justice Kavanaugh Can’t Be Above Ethics Rules, Can He?

The dismissal of complaints against him raises questions about how Congress can police the Supreme Court.

Above sanction now.

Above sanction now.

Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg

A federal appeals court has dismissed all complaints brought against Justice Brett Kavanaugh as a result of his confirmation hearings — because he’s now on the U.S. Supreme Court. Legally, the decision is probably correct. The federal Judicial Conduct Act, passed by Congress, doesn’t apply to the Supreme Court justices. And the Code of Conduct for U.S. Judges, adopted by the federal courts’ policy-making body, doesn’t apply to the justices either.

Ethically, however, the situation is more than a little bit outrageous: Are Supreme Court justices, of all people, really above the law?