UC Law Journal


From Laird v. Tatum to Bush v. Gore, the refusal of some Supreme Court Justices to recuse themselves in controversial cases has caused reactions ranging from confusion to disgust. The latest "duck hunting" recusal controversy, and the Court's seemingly callous response to the public outcry, seemed to suggest a deliberate indifference to the recusal standard. This Article examines the recusal provisions applicable to the Supreme Court. There is little doubt that Congress drafted the federal recusal statute broadly and intended to encompass Supreme Court Justices within the statute's reach. However, interesting questions surround recusal in the Supreme Court due to the unique position the Court holds, which raises potential separation of powers and enforcement issues. The Article concludes that rather than an insistence upon actual recusal, a more valuable approach at the Supreme Court level might involve the institution of additional disclosures, in the form of "statements of interest" accompanying participation.

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