Though academic plagiarism rarely causes harm to an innocent party, it is important for purposes of understanding the integrity those people whose integrity and morals are fundamental to their work. Ukraine has been working to implement processes to combat plagiarism in academia, though practices are inconsistent around the country. Kyiv-Mohyla Academy, for example
, has robust policies related to plagiarism, and Kiev Polytechnic Institute and Kyiv National University of Trade and Economics likewise have developed procedures for addressing plagiarism in their institutions. These institutions and several others are exceptional in their practices, however. In 2015, Ukraine established the National Agency for Quality Assurance of Higher Education to ensure that Ukrainian institutions of higher education met the standards defined in Ukrainian law, including fighting plagiarism. There were some initial hurdles to ensuring that members of the Agency met the standards they themselves were expected to enforce and guide Ukraine's academic institutions towards meeting, however, as Serhiy Kvit wrote
in a 2017 op-ed in the Kyiv Post. The National Agency for Quality Assurance of Higher Education, now headed by Kvit
, may hold some promise to ensuring Ukraine's future judges and attorneys do not plagiarize in their studies.
What about those seeking to become judges or get a promotion who have committed plagiarism in the past? In Ukraine, plagiarism of the judicial candidate or judge undergoing qualification evaluation repeadelly was a reason for adoption of the negative opinion on the integrity by the Public Integrity Council (PIC). The PIC assesses candidates for judicial positions, excluding the Constitutional Court and the High Anti-Corruption Court, and provides a detailed report on the judge's integrity for the High Qualification Commission of Judges (HQCJ).
In its report on the candidate for the position of the Supreme Court judge Mikhail Huzely
, the PIC identified specific phrases Huzely plagiarized in an article he wrote for Visnyk of the Lviv University's Law Series. Ultimately, the article was 85-90% borrowed from another article written by a scholar in Chernivtsi. Sergey Podkopayev
, on the other hand, is believed to have written a substantial portion of the dissertation of Artem Pshonka, the son of his close friend and former Prosecutor General under Yankukovych, Viktor Pshonka. An analysis of this work shows signs not only of substantial plagiarism of another PhD dissertation, but, upon analysis of meta data, that it was written on Podkopayev's computer, casting immense doubt on Podkopayev's integrity. Another candidate, Alexander Fedotovich Sinikov
, was found to have committed plagiarism in his own PhD dissertation at Zaporizhya National University. The PIC report notes that Sinikov was denied his diploma as a result, which was confirmed by the Ministry of Education and Science of Ukraine and Sinikov's professor, A. O. Selivanova. The three aforementioned candidates were not selected to serve on the Supreme Court. Huzely is currently working as an academic, Podkopayev currently works in a prosecutor's office, while Sinikov is a former judge.
Developing governmental organizations to establish ethical practices and fight plagiarism to academia is not entirely new, of course. In 2005, the Croatian Parliament founded the Committee on Ethics in Science and Higher Education (CESHE) whose work, in part, targets acts of plagiarism. The Committee has identified politicians, academics, and at least one very powerful judge who have plagiarized academic works, but they have faced pushback in the process. In 2017, the CESHE alleged that the President of the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Croatia, Miroslav Šeparović, committed plagiarism in his 2013 doctoral thesis
. A few months later, the Constitutional Court ruled against the CESHE in a suit brought by the University of Zagreb, the decision which significantly restricted the Committee's authority by determining its rulings were secondary to the findings of lower-level bodies, such as ethics committees at universities. In late 2017, the CESHE stated that they had determined Šeparović had committed plagiarism. The judge then filed criminal complaints against the members of the panel in early 2018. Should Šeparović win the case, members of the panel who determined that he plagiarized could end up in jail. As of mid-2019, Justice Šeparović remains in his role on the Constitutional Court.
In the United States, judges rarely face serious repercussions for plagiarism outside of practice, but there are some exceptions. In June 2019, Kristina Reeves
, an appellate litigator, withdrew from consideration for a position on the Arizona Court of Appeals
. Her decision to do so followed the revelation that she plagiarized U.S. Supreme Court Justices Neil Gorsuch and Samuel Alito in her application, but subsequent to her attempt to "correct" her error when confronted by the reviewing committee. It is not clear that she was required to withdraw, but local experts advised
that such an act of plagiarism would likely keep her from advancing, as lesser problems have held back other qualified candidates. The plagiarism in this case stemmed from approximately 400 words of 1,000 words
within the application that were taken directly from Justice Gorsuch and Justice Alito without attribution.
Interestingly, Justice Gorsuch
himself, the aforementioned victim of plagiarization, faced accusations of plagiarism
during his Supreme Court confirmation hearing in 2017. The accusations related to sections of his book, The Future of Assisted Suicide and Euthanasia
, and his Oxford D.Phil thesis, both of which borrowed heavily from a 1984 Indiana Law Journal article by Abigail Lawlis Kuzma. The author, Kuzma, defended Gorsuch
, arguing that Gorsuch merely used the same factual statements and sources while others argued that his secondary source plagiarism did not rise to the level of true plagiarism. Though it appears
that Justice Gorsuch's book and thesis from which it was developed both contained a form of plagiarism, this did not stop his eventual confirmation and he currently sits on the highest court in the United States.