Most violations of judicial ethics appear to be inadvertent. Aside from the few cases where judges deliberately violate the law or otherwise dishonor their positions, the overwhelming majority do their best to live within the ethical strictures that judging places upon them. Violations persist, however, even among the well-intentioned, for a variety of understandable reasons. First, until recently, relatively little attention has been paid to the subject of judicial ethics. Second, many of the rules governing judicial behavior are of the technical, "malum prohibitum" variety. Two courts that have had occasion to consider this issue have given us little in the way of useful methodology. Let me suggest as a minimum level of explication for opinions on judicial ethics that consideration of each charge or violation ought to include discussion of policy, goals, means, costs and solutions, which will explain the purpose of the court's ruling and the means by which the court intends to achieve that purpose in the future.
The Search for Analysis in Judicial Ethics or Easy Cases Don't Make Much Law,
66 Neb. L. Rev.
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