It is good to have rules. But those rules don’t mean much if there are no penalties for breaking them and people seem to be on the honor system for complying with them. That seems to be the case with a new code of ethics adopted by the U.S. Supreme Court. It seems such rules are needed, amid reports that some justices on the high court accepted lavish gifts from donors, including those with cases before the high court. In some cases, those gifts were not disclosed on financial statements. That has led to an erosion of public trust in the nation’s highest court, so they figured it was time to write down some rules. The problem is that under the new code, the justices themselves will be left to enforce the rules. That is like a criminal deciding their own punishment. These new rules aren’t really new, just a codification of existing rules that require justices to”avoid impropriety and the appearance of all improprieties in all activities.”That seems rather vague. And there is no mention of how ethical violations will be enforced, seemingly leaving it to the justices to police themselves. It is good that the justices say they are committed to being ethical, but their words don’t mean much if it is only enforced on the honor system.