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« Behind Justice Stevens' Recusal in Florida Case | Main | Federal Appeals Court Rules Against D.C. in Gun Suit »

December 04, 2009


Doc Merlin

As far as I can tell, when most people ask for recusals, its a transparent attempt to get Scalia off the vote. Not allowing justices to decide their own recusals opens up the court for gaming.

Carl Bernofsky

On the occasion of this examination of judicial recusal, it is important to note that in many serious instances, the recusal statute, 28 U.S.C. § 455, is too general to provide effective guidance. In particular, it does not prevent an adjunct faculty judge from sitting in a case that involves the university that employs him or her, even when they are paid or otherwise rewarded for their services. This deficiency is easily remedied. See, for example,

Cynthia Gray, Director, American Judicature Society Center for Judicial Ethics

It is not accurate to say "Other than the federal judiciary’s codes of conduct, the U.S. Supreme Court has no formal guidelines for when a justice must recuse from a case." The code of conduct for U.S. judges does not apply to Supreme Court Justices. But, like all federal judges, the justices are bound by 28 U.S.C § 455, which does not provide guidelines but requirements for when a judge is disqualified. It does not specifically cover every possible situation, of course, but it does have provisions regarding common situations and the general requirement that a judge "disqualify himself in any proceeding in which his impartiality might reasonably be questioned." There are also disqualification provisions in 28 U.S.C § 455.

ivan swift

one of the most outrageous abuses of the recusal process occured in montgomery, alabama, when US Dictrct Judge fuller declined to recuse himself in the trial of former gov don siegelman. siegelman was governor when fuller got appointed judge so siegelman appointed a successor to fuller as district atty. uncovered in the succession were major issues -- including fuller having exxagerated -- to use a word that deserves a more criminal implication -- service of a staffer to illegally increase his pension. fuller ran a defense contracting agency out of his official office as judge. he and siegeman had been bitter political enemies for years. and he refused to recuse himself.

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