Herb Strentz was dean of the Drake School of Journalism from 1975 to 1988 and professor there until retirement in 2004. He was executive secretary of the Iowa Freedom of Information Council from its founding in 1976 to 2000.
A timely editorial on the U.S. Supreme Court and judicial ethics—“Injudicious investments”—began as follows: “The U.S. Supreme Court sits on a ticking time bomb. The high court’s integrity and prestige will be damaged severely when the bomb goes off.”
The Supreme Court is the nation’s only judicial body without a code of ethics or standards to guide the justices on when, among other things, a justice should not take part in deciding a case. Randy Evans covered such issues well in a recent column. His points are underscored in an Iowa Supreme Court website devoted to the Iowa Judicial Qualifications Commission. The commission deals with allegations of misconduct by Iowa judges, magistrates and court employees.
So the editorial quoted above is timely and provocative.
That’s because the Des Moines Register published the “ticking time bomb” editorial, written by Gil Cranberg, more than 43 years ago — on June 11, 1980. It focused on how to avoid having a justice’s stock portfolio influence court decisions.Continue Reading...