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"The Soul of our Nation..."

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Senator Nunn speaking with constituents on the steps of the Capitol, 1975


Senator Nunn at the Capitol

You will need Adobe Acrobat Reader to read the text of some of the documents in this exhibit. To download the Reader, click here.

Judicial Tenure Act

Since his election to the Senate in 1972, Senator Nunn has worked for reform in the judiciary, saying "let's judge the judges." In 1977, he introduced the Judicial Tenure Act, and in 1979 he co-sponsored the Judicial Conduct and Disability Act which was signed into law on October 15, 1980. These acts provided a means to discipline a federal judge without resorting to the impeachment process.

1972 campaign brochure

1977 Judicial Tenure Act

Senator Nunn argued, " it is unreasonable to expect the legislative business of this country to come to a halt while the House impeaches and the Senate tries some obscure yet misbehaving judge. Common sense requires that a logical balance be struck between the gravity of the situation and the interruption of Congressional activity."
-- Senator Nunn, statement introducing the Judicial Tenure Act, April 29, 1977. (Click here to read this document)

Public Officials Integrity Act of 1977

Following the conclusion of their investigation into the details of the Watergate scandal, the Ervin Committee made 35 recommendations designed to prevent such abuses in every branch of the federal government. These recommendations were incorporated into legislation called the Watergate Reorganization and Reform Act which passed the Senate in 1976. The House of Representatives failed to act on that legislation prior to the adjournment of the 94th Congress. The substance of that bill was reintroduced in the 95th Congress as the Public Officials Integrity Act, and it was signed into law on October 26, 1978. Senator Nunn co-sponsored the Act and served on the committee that reported it to the Senate.

Senator Nunn and President Jimmy Carter

Senator Nunn and Senator Byrd

Senate Code of Ethics (1977)

In 1977, in the wake of several political scandals--including those involving Rep. Wilbur Mills, Rep. Wayne Hays and Tongsun Park--Senator Nunn served on the Special Committee on Official Conduct that revised and extended the Senate Code of Ethics. Some of the Act's provisions were controversial, and Senate Majority Leader Robert Byrd used his personal persuasion to insure the passage of the Act.

Nunn's Code of Ethics for the Senate Armed Services Committee (1988)

When Senator Nunn became the chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee in January 1987, he instructed the committee's staff director and chief counsel to revise and update the committee's code of ethics. That code exceeded the standards for all other congressional employees.

"Nunn Sets the Standard With His Ethics Code", Atlanta Journal-Constitution, July 3, 1988

For more information about the Sam Nunn Archive, contact Naomi L. Nelson at libnn@emory.edu