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The judicial canons of ethics used by the federal judiciary are up for revision to keep in line with the American Bar Association’s February 2007 modifications of its Model Code of Judicial Conduct. The proposed changes, includes for example, revised portions of Canon 2, affecting how a judge should treat membership in any organization that practices invidious discrimination. The canon calls for a judge to avoid the appearance of impropriety and in that regard it states: “A judge should not hold membership in any organization that practices invidious discrimination.” The proposal would cut the added description, “on the basis of race, sex, religion, or national origin.” The commentary on that canon would eliminate language that previously permitted a judge, in lieu of resigning such a group, to make continuous efforts to have the group discontinue its discriminatory practices. The revised commentary states the judge: “should resign immediately from the organization.” The Judicial Conference of the United States, the policy-setting arm of the judiciary, issued a call for public comment on the proposed changes. The comments should be submitted by April 18 for consideration by the conference Committee on Codes of Conduct. The committee may choose to publicly disclose the comments on its judiciary web site. The Judicial Conference initially adopted the Code of Conduct in 1973, based on the ABA model code created a year earlier. Modifications have been adopted over the years and the current changes reflect clarifications, expansions, updates and improvements, according to the Administrative Office of the Courts.

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