This Article discusses the treatment of judges' activities to improve the law in the 1990 Model Code of Judicial Conduct. The 1972 Code of Judicial Conduct separated the guidelines for engaging in acts to improve the law ("quasi-judicial activity") from cautions against off-bench activity wholly unrelated to the law ("extra-judicial activity"). The 1990 Model Code of Judicial Conduct consolidates quasi-judicial activity and extra-judicial activity into a single canon - Canon 4. The authors argue that this consolidation provides judges with little encouragement to improve the law. They suggest that the failure to encourage judges to improve our justice system is contrary to the history of quasi-judicial activity and to other tenets of the 1990 Code itself. A modified version of Canon 4 is proposed which incorporates the rationale for consolidation yet encourages activities to improve the law.
Mark S. Bagula & Robert C. Coates,
Trustees of the Justice System: Quasi-Judicial Activity and the Failure of the 1990 ABA Model Code of Judicial Conduct,
San Diego L. Rev.
Available at: https://digital.sandiego.edu/sdlr/vol31/iss3/3