(See my previous Judging the Judiciary)
Judges recusing themselves from a case to prevent the appearance of bias, conflict of interest, or any other impropriety is quite common.
Former Supreme Court Chief Justice Rehnquist had a legal colleague who argued against his appointment to the court at Rehnquist’s congressional confirmation hearing. The
Chief Justice recused himself whenever a case before the court involved this same lawyer.
Justice Samuel Alito, Jr. recused himself in cases involving Exxon as his portfolio contained Exxon stock.
Justice Sonia Sotomayor has stated, “I have chosen to remove myself from cases, even when not technically required by ethical rules,”
Justice Kagan recused herself from several dozen cases shortly after joining the Supreme Court to avoid the appearance of conflict as she had worked on the Federal Government’s preparation of some those same cases in her previous role of Solicitor General. Continue reading