Boots & Sabers

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Everything but tech support.

1505, 16 Jan 16

Dems Introduce Bill to Force Judges to Recuse Themselves

In certain circumstances.

Hebl’s bills would:

  • Require a judge or justice to recuse himself or herself if a “reasonable person would question whether the judge or justice could act in an impartial manner.” Current law requires a judge to determine his or her own impartiality.
  • Require a judge to recuse if, within the last for years, a party in the case has contributed $1000 or more — directly or in independent expenditures.
  • Allow the state Supreme Court to review recusal decisions of justices.
  • If a justice doesn’t recuse after a request is made, require him or her to report the reasons for the decision.

  • Make Supreme Court justices subject to discipline by a panel of Court of Appeals judges rather than the Supreme Court.

I think a law like this may run into separation of powers issues, but setting that aside, it is also really bad law. Consider the second bullet… so if I have a case before the Supreme Court or the Court of Appeals, all I have to do to narrow the panel to just the favorable judges is spend $1,000 on campaign stuff? That’s less than the cost of an afternoon of work for some lawyers. And since I can do it with independent expenditures, the justices can’t even refuse to accept it.


1505, 16 January 2016


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