US Chief Justice Says Judges Need ‘Rigorous’ Training in Stock Trading Rules


United States Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts arrives to attend President Joe Biden’s first speech at a Joint Session of the United States Congress inside the United States Capitol Chamber in Washington, States United, April 28, 2021. REUTERS / Jonathan Ernst / Pool / File Photo

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Dec.31 (Reuters) – US federal judges need “more rigorous” ethics training to ensure they do not hear disputes in which they have a financial interest, said US Chief Justice John Roberts in a year-end report released Friday, citing a recent Wall Street Journal Investigation report.

The newspaper reported in September that 131 federal judges had violated forfeiture rules and the judicial code of ethics by presiding over cases involving companies in which they or their family members held shares.

In his annual report on federal justice, Roberts said that most judges followed the rules scrupulously and that the violations identified by the Wall Street Journal were mostly “isolated” and “unintentional” oversights caused by court proceedings. conflict verification not revealing a financial conflict.

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“But for judges who have committed multiple violations or professed ignorance of the ethical rule, there is a more serious problem of inadequate ethics training,” Roberts said in the report.

Roberts said the federal judiciary’s policy-making body has already started improving ethics training courses for judges to ensure they are aware of their obligations.

“Collectively, our ethics training programs need to be more rigorous,” said Roberts. “It means more class time, webinars and consultations. But it also requires greater attention to promoting a culture of compliance, even when busy cases fill court calendars. “

On December 1, the House of Representatives voted 422-4 in favor of a bipartisan bill imposing stricter public financial reporting requirements on judges in federal courts and courts of appeal. The Senate has not yet ruled on an accompanying bill.

The Courthouse Ethics and Transparency Act, spurred by the Wall Street Journal investigation, would set a 45-day window for judges to report stock trades over $ 1,000 and would also oblige the judiciary to post disclosure forms online.

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Reporting by Jan Wolfe; Additional reporting by Nate Raymond; Editing by Rosalba O’Brien

Our Standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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