Thursday, July 03, 2003

Judicial Ethics

Via Max Power, I found this fascinating WSJ article on a 96-year-old federal judge named Milton Pollack, who just threw out an investor lawsuit claiming that financial advisers had a conflict of interest in the stocks they recommended. As is often the case, the passage that seemed most remarkable to me was something that the reporter apparently didn't intend to highlight:
Judge Pollack, through a clerk, declined an interview request for this article; the clerk said he was "too busy and too tied up with other work in the office."
Of course he declined the interview. No responsible judge, whether he was "busy" or not, would talk to the Wall Street Journal about a case he had just decided. Here's what Canon 3 of the Code of Conduct for United States Judges says about such things:
A judge should avoid public comment on the merits of a pending or impending action, requiring similar restraint by court personnel subject to the judge's direction and control. * * * The admonition against public comment about the merits of a pending or impending action continues until completion of the appellate process.


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