The U.S. chief justice says judges need “rigorous” training on stock trading rules. Reuters

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: US Supreme Court President John Roberts Comes to Attend President Joe Biden’s First Address at a Joint Session of the US Congress at the US Capitol House in Washington, DC, April 28, 2021 REUTERS / Jonathan Erns

Author: Jan Wolfe

(Reuters) – U.S. federal judges need “more rigorous” ethical training to ensure they don’t listen to disputes in which they have a financial interest, U.S. Chief Justice John Roberts said in a year-end report released Friday, citing a recent Wall Street Research Journal .

The paper reported in September that 131 federal judges violated the exemption rules and code of judicial ethics by presiding over cases involving companies in which they or family members owned shares.

In his annual report on federal justice, Roberts said most judges conscientiously followed the rules, and that violations revealed by the Wall Street Journal were mostly “isolated” and “unintentional” oversights caused by conflict screening procedures that did not reveal financial conflict.

“But for those judges who have repeatedly violated or stated that they do not know the ethical rule, there is a more serious problem of inadequate ethical training,” Roberts said in the report.

Roberts said the federal judiciary has already begun improving ethics training courses for judges to ensure they are aware of their responsibilities.

“Together, our ethical training programs need to be more rigorous,” Roberts said. “It means more classes, webinars and consultations. But it also requires more attention to promoting a culture of compliance, even when busy jobs keep court calendars full.”

On December 1, the House of Representatives voted 422-4 for a two-party law imposing stricter requirements for public financial reporting to judges of federal district and appellate courts. The Senate has not yet acted on the accompanying law.

The Court Building Ethics and Transparency Act, spurred by a Wall Street Journal investigation, would set a 45-day deadline for judges to report stock trades in excess of $ 1,000, and would also require the judiciary to publish online publication forms.

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