SCOTUS shortlisters recuse in Michigan recount suit; one notes his 'extraordinarily remote' chance

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Updated: Two Michigan Supreme Court justices on a shortlist of possible Supreme Court appointees have recused themselves in an appeal seeking to restart the presidential recount process by Green Party candidate Jill Stein. Later Friday, the Michigan Supreme Court declined to hear the appeal.

Both justices—Chief Justice Robert Young and Joan Larsen—said no one representing President-elect Donald Trump ever contacted them or asked if they are interested in serving on the U.S. Supreme Court. And both said they were recusing themselves with reluctance, the Detroit Free Press reports. Josh Blackman’s Blog links to their statements (here and here) and Stein’s disqualification motion.

Larsen noted a recusal in the Michigan Supreme Court “leaves the court shorthanded,” but “the unique circumstances of this case demand my recusal.”

Young indicated he believes that justices should disqualify themselves “only when the conflict is so real and so patent that recusal is necessary.” Young said he has no bias, but he was recusing “in order that the decision made by my colleagues in this case will not be legitimately challenged by base speculation and groundless innuendo by the partisans in this controversy and beyond.”

Young said his placement on the list creates a conflict because it is “a potential boon, however remote.”

And he made clear he believed his chances were indeed remote. “As I have previously stated, anybody can make a list,” Young wrote. “In this regard, after serving as a jurist for 21 years, 18 on this court, I fully acknowledge that, at the age of 65, the probability of my being selected and appointed from the president-elect’s infamous list of United States Supreme Court potential appointees is extraordinarily remote.”

According to the Detroit Free Press, even without Young and Larsen, Republican-nominated justices make up a majority of the remaining members of the court.

Hat tip to @JoshBlackman and @SBMExecDirector and @DerekTMuller.

Updated Dec. 12 to note the Friday order from the Michigan Supreme Court.

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