Chief Justice Roberts Aims to Improve Judicial Ethics Amid Possible Financial Conflict

U.S. Chief Justice John Roberts aims to improve ethics training while also improving internal compliance systems after it was found in hundreds of instances where judges had ruled over cases in which they or their family owned stocks, The Wall Street Journal reported on Friday.

“Let me be crystal clear: the Judiciary takes this matter seriously. We expect judges to adhere to the highest standards, and those judges violated an ethics rule,” Roberts said in his year-end report.

Roberts went on to add that most judges strictly adhere to the guidelines laid out and that any incident where a conflict of interest was found was likely “isolated” and “unintentional.”

“But,” Roberts said, according to Reuters, “for those judges who had multiple violations, or professed ignorance of the ethics rule, there is a more serious problem of inadequate ethics training.”

Roberts has since said that the federal judiciary’s policymaking body has already started bolstering its ethics training courses to ensure that federal judges know about conflicts of interest.

“Collectively, our ethics training programs need to be more rigorous,” Roberts stated. “That means more classtime, webinars, and consultations. But it also requires greater attention to promoting a culture of compliance, even when busy dockets keep judicial calendars full.”

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