A Question of Ethics

Diversity, Equity, Inclusion: Political Agendas and Affirmative Action

This episode of A Question of Ethics will continue to explore diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI), and NACM’s commitment to helping provide equal justice. This session was recorded after the Ethics Subcommittee Conference Call on April 28, 2022. The questions the group explored include:

  • Does focusing on diversity, equity, and inclusion policies and programs conflict with the court’s purpose to be a separate, independent, and impartial forum for resolving disputes?
  • How do courts keep political agendas out of its efforts to make court personnel and court process equitable for all?
  • How does implementing DEI policies and programs compare to Affirmation Action requirements?
  • How can courts today be more inclusive and accessible to those having business before them?

Relevant Canons from the NACM Code of Conduct for Court Professionals

Canon 1.1: Performing Court Duties

A court professional faithfully carries out all appropriately assigned duties, striving at all times to perform the work diligently, efficiently, equitably, thoroughly, courteously, honestly, openly, and within the scope of the court professional’s authority.

Canon 1.3: Fairness

The court professional makes the court accessible and conducts his or her work without bias or prejudice.

Canon 1.4 Respect for Others

A court professional treats litigants, co-workers, and all others interacting with the court with dignity, respect, and courtesy.

Canon 4.1 Inappropriate Political Activity (Paraphrased)

A court professional:

  • retains his or her right to vote;
  • engages in political activity strictly as a private citizen, in accordance with federal and state law, with local court rule, and with the policy of the appropriate local governing authority;
  • participates in political activity only during non-court hours;
  • uses only non-court resources; and
  • never uses his or her position to politically influence others.

This discussion is available on YouTube.

Leave a question or comment about the episode at ethics@nacmnet.org.