Bloomberg Law
Sept. 26, 2019, 11:27 AM

True Disciplinary Actions for Judges Rare

Patricio Chile
Patricio Chile
Assistant Managing Editor

A vanishingly small number of judicial misconduct complaints—just 33 out of nearly 11,000—have resulted in any disciplinary action. This could include censure, reprimand, or suspension of case assignments.

Investigation Prevented: More often—121 times—judges were allowed to retire, or some other “intervening event” prevented the judiciary from investigating the complaint. Think Ninth Circuit Judge Alex Kozinski and Third Circuit Judge Maryanne Trump Barry, and now-Justice Brett Kavanaugh.

System at Work: Judge Sarah Evans Barker, who sits on the federal Judicial Conduct and Disability Committee, said allowing judges to retire rather than face public sanctions is a “feature of the system—not a ...