Roberts sidesteps Supreme Court’s ethics controversies in yearly report

Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts released his annual report on the federal judiciary this week, and it sidestepped the ethical controversies swirling around the court.

The report focuses on the work of the judiciary for calendar year 2018, such as the expansion of video conferencing and e-filing across courts nationwide. It also lauded the courts for expanding access to critical services, such as mental health services, to defendants in criminal cases.

The report references an ethics scandal that had engulfed the court in 2018 – the question of Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s fitness for office amid allegations of sexual misconduct – however, it did not address it directly.

The report also included a number of noteworthy statistics. It noted, for instance, that the court had received over 7 million cases, a record high and an 8 percent increase from 2017. The report also noted that the court had made significant efforts to increase efficiency, with a “self-help” program that has allowed over 5 million people to resolve their legal matters without having to go to trial.

The report follows a turbulent month in the Supreme Court, which included a controversial opinion on abortion rights, calls for Justice Kavanaugh’s ouster, and allegations of bias in the court’s handling of cases. The report, however, appears to seek to present a more unified front, avoiding making direct reference to the ethical controversies in favor of focusing on the work of the court.