Did the US Supreme court really “exemp(t) themselves from all the ethical rules that all the other federal judges are abided by”? If so, how?
In CNN's video Toobin: Why Ginni Thomas' texts around 1/6 are problematic with the description
CNN chief legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin explains why Ginni Thomas' involvement with the events of January 6 complicates matters for her husband, Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas.
02:00 Toobin says that the US Supreme court "have exempted themselves from all the ethical rules that all the other federal judges are abided by."
Have they done this simply by precedent alone, i.e. simply not exempting themselves for so long that it has become a de facto norm, or did the court actively state or rule that they don't have to, or is Toobin incorrect somehow?
Well... the thing that is so extraordinary about this is that... Ginni and Clarence Thomas have talked about that they are "a team". Now they also say that they do not interfere with each others' work.
But the traditions in courts has been that if a judge's spouse is at all involved in a matter that comes before the court, the judge recuses (themself). Now what's unusual about the United States Supreme Court is that they have exempted themselves from all the ethical rules that all the other federal judges are abided by.
So the Supreme Court operates entirely on on honor system. There is no formal rule for when judges should recuse themselves. But by any reasonable standard Clarence Thomas should not be sitting in all these cases.