Can an independent SCOTUS right its own ship?

Bogged down by a new crop of ethics scandals and questions of objectivity, lawmakers are starting to wonder if SCOTUS is capable of policing itself. And if not, who can?

activists protest outside capitol building
Activists protest outside the Capitol building.
(Image credit: Photo by Alex Wong / Getty Images)

From its long black robes to its imposing Romanesque columns, every facet of the United States Supreme Court is designed to impart an overwhelming sense of unimpeachable power and solemnity — a message to the public that this body, cloaked in ritual significance and the facade of righteous justice, is to be afforded a measure of reverence often reserved for religious, rather than governmental, institutions. Accordingly, the recent series of scandals surrounding various justices obscuring, or simply omitting, key financial details in their requisite disclosure forms, have taken on an added layer of significance for many in Washington.

Lawmakers from both parties have begun to openly question whether the court can continue on its current trajectory of self-regulation or if it's in need of fundamental change to regain a potentially fatal lost sense of legitimacy and public trust. The highest court in the land is likely as close to a crisis point as it has been for nearly a century.

Subscribe to The Week

Escape your echo chamber. Get the facts behind the news, plus analysis from multiple perspectives.


Sign up for The Week's Free Newsletters

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

Sign up
To continue reading this article...
Continue reading this article and get limited website access each month.
Get unlimited website access, exclusive newsletters plus much more.
Cancel or pause at any time.
Already a subscriber to The Week?
Not sure which email you used for your subscription? Contact us
Rafi Schwartz, The Week US

Rafi Schwartz has worked as a politics writer at The Week since 2022, where he covers elections, Congress and the White House. He was previously a contributing writer with Mic focusing largely on politics, a senior writer with Splinter News, a staff writer for Fusion's news lab, and the managing editor of Heeb Magazine, a Jewish life and culture publication. Rafi's work has appeared in Rolling Stone, GOOD and The Forward, among others.