Recently, Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas has been under fire for accepting lavish gifts from a wealthy friend. It’s worth noting that neither Moses nor the prophet Samuel ever asked to borrow a donkey on the slim chance that it might be perceived as leveraging their authority and prestige for personal gain.
That being said, even the esteemed Yale Law Professor Stephen L. Carter, writing for the Washington Post, found more smoke than fire in the allegations. He did, however, cite the Wall Street Journal’s Pulitzer Prize winning series that found some 2600 federal officials with investment holdings that posed serious conflicts of interest.
His deeper point is that focusing on isolated, high-profile ethics charges inclines us to overlook more systemic problems of considerably greater concern.
Scripture’s warning that bribery blinds the eyes of the wise finds support from both human psychology and common sense. How demanding should we the people be in expecting strict ethical standards from our elected and appointed officials? What steps can we take to influence more rigorous yet balanced guidelines and their even-handed implementation?
Finally, what standards should we set and tactics should we employ to avoid putting ourselves in situations that will skew our ethical judgment?
Meet this week’s panelists:
Sam Ardery is a national mediator, trial lawyer, consultant, speaker, and author. He teaches negotiation at Indiana University’s Maurer School of Law and is author of Positively Conflicted: Engaging with Courage, Compassion and Wisdom in a Combative World.
Kimberly Davis is an author, TEDx speaker, and founder of the Brave Leadership University, leading development programs world-wide, around authentic leadership, purpose, presence, and influence.
Annette Taylor is a researcher of evolutionary psychology and biology. Her website, Cavedweller Club, offers guidance and insights on how we can better understand the way our own hardwiring influences unconscious bias and decision making.
#ethics #politics #leadership #supremecourt #grappling