Un codice etico per la Corte Suprema? Indipendenza e imparzialità dei Justices tra obblighi di trasparenza, ricusazione e amici curiae

Over the past several years, watchdog groups and investigative journalists have brough to the public’s attention alleged ethical lapses by the U.S. Supreme Court’s Justices. Friendships with megadonors, errors and omissions in their financial disclosures, and failure to recuse themselves according to the law are just a few of the personal and professional conducts that are being questioned by scholarship, politicians, and civil society. With the Supreme Court Ethics, Recusal, and Transparency Act of 2023 – recently approved by the Dem-led Senate Committee on the Judiciary – the proposal for a code of conduct for the Justices of the Supreme Court has finally taken shape. This essay aims to provide a comprehensive analysis of the factual background and the regulatory framework in which the proposed bill is set, so as to assess its contents and purposes against the constitutional principle of the separation of powers, and the need to ensure both the independence of the judiciary and its accountability towards the public. Although the bill's chances to become law are slim, at a time when public confidence in the Supreme Court is at its historic low the current debate could still serve as a wake-up call for the highest court of the federal system.