Democrats and Republicans are joining to introduce legislation that would require judges to file a quarterly financial disclosure form with the Justice Department, The Hill reports. The bill was written by Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, and ranking member Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., and will co-sponsors Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn of Texas and Senate Judiciary Committee member Chris Coons of Delaware.
“I would hope that this will help restore our trust in our judiciary,” Cornyn said on the Senate floor on Thursday. “People have a right to know exactly how their judges are performing their duties.”
The bill would apply to district, appeals, and Supreme Court judges, and would require the DOJ to make public those financial forms, The Hill reported.
Justice Department chief legal counsel Donald Verrilli, Jr. told The Hill that the filing requirement would go beyond what Congress can do without waiving the Constitution’s separation of powers. “The secretary is authorized to issue a disclosure rule and it can be reasonable regulations in terms of time frames and all that,” Verrilli said. “The question is whether that’s a reasonable standard to decide if you’re a judge or whether you’re an executive branch employee.”
Verrilli went on to add that since the bill would require the filings to be subject to “presumption” that they should be made public, “we would have a series of steps that come into play.”
Grassley said on the Senate floor that he received more than 100 constituent letters in support of the bill.
Read the full story at The Hill.
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