In 2004, the now late Chief Justice William Rehnquist
announced his intention to form a committee in
response to criticism from Congress about the
federal judiciary’s implementation of the Judicial
Conduct and Disability Act of 1980 (the Act).  This law,
now codified as 28 U.S.C. §351 et seq., is the primary
government mechanism for anyone, including private
citizens, to allege and seek redress for the official
misconduct and/or work related disability of a federal
judge.  Then Chief Justice Rehnquist selected
Associate Justice Stephen Breyer to chair the six (6)
member Judicial Conduct and Disability Act Study
Committee (Breyer Committee).  Its only non-judge
member is a lawyer who served as Rehnquist’s
administrative assistant at the time of joining.

The Breyer Committee found a 2-3% error rate in their
colleague’s handling of judicial misconduct
complaints: a remarkable fact given the relative dearth
of authoritative interpretation standards for
implementing the Act.  The federal Judicial
Conference Committee on Judicial Conduct and
Disability subsequently drafted rules with
commentaries to provide that guidance.  The new
rules mandate dismissal of “(a)llegations . . . directly
related to the merits of a decision or procedural
ruling”, a merely optional response under the Act.  In
contrast, the U. S. Constitution limits
state power,       
“. . . however put forth, whether that action be
executive, legislative, or judicial.”  
Ex Parte State of
, 100 U. S. 339 at 346 (1879).