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U.S. Supreme Court

Bill Would Require Supreme Court Justices to Explain Recusals, Create Ethics Review Process

Posted Mar 3, 2011 6:30 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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A bill introduced by Democratic lawmakers aims to make U.S. Supreme Court recusals more transparent.

The bill would require Supreme Court justices to explain their recusal decisions and would allow the Supreme Court to force a recusal when a justice rejects a motion to disqualify, according to The BLT: The Blog of Legal Times. The legislation also would require the U.S. Judicial Conference to create a procedure to investigate ethics complaints against the justices.

Justices already voluntarily comply with the code of conduct for federal judges, but the legislation would make it a requirement, the BLT says.

Chief sponsor of the bill is U.S. Rep. Chris Murphy, D-Conn. “There is often a mystery as to why a recusal doesn’t happen, and there is often mystery as to why a recusal does happen,” he said at a news conference. In a press release, Murphy said the bill is needed because the public’s trust has been eroded by political activities of some of the justices.

Prior coverage:

ABAJournal.com: “100 Law Profs Lobby Congress to Apply Ethics Code to US Supreme Court Justices”

ABAJournal.com: "Critics ‘Seem Bent on Undermining’ Supreme Court, Justice Thomas Says"

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