WASHINGTON (AP) — Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer has waded into a debate over ethics on the nation's highest court, defending the way justices decide whether not to remove themselves from considering a case.
In recent months lawmakers and other interest groups have called for two of the Supreme Court's nine justices to remove themselves from the upcoming arguments over President Barack Obama's health care law for ethical reasons.
Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts defended his colleagues' ethical practices in late December in an annual year-end report to Congress. He wrote that justices voluntarily follow the same code of conduct required of lower court judges. And he said he has "complete confidence" in his colleagues' ability to decide whether to withdraw from considering a case.
Breyer also defended the court's ethical practices in response to a question Saturday at a conference in Washington, saying he consults the ethics code before any close case.