Roberts Defends Colleagues And Court’s Recusal Policy
Wall Street Journal: Chief Justice Responds To Recusal Calls In Health-Care Case
Chief Justice John Roberts defended the ethics of Supreme Court justices, using his year-end report to respond to partisan calls for Justices Clarence Thomas and Elena Kagan to sit out the pending case over President Barack Obama's health-care overhaul. "I have complete confidence in the capability of my colleagues to determine when recusal is warranted," the chief justice wrote. "They are jurists of exceptional integrity and experience whose character and fitness have been examined through a rigorous appointment and confirmation process" (Bravin, 12/31).
The New York Times: Chief Justice Defends Peers' Hearing Case on Health Law
(Roberts) made what amounted to a vigorous defense of Justices Clarence Thomas and Elena Kagan, who are facing calls to disqualify themselves from hearing the health care case, which will be argued over three days in late March. He did not, however, mention the justices by name. ... Federal law requires that judges disqualify themselves when they have a financial interest in a case, have given ad-vice or expressed an opinion "concerning the merits of the particular case" or when their "impartiality might reasonably be questioned." For lower court judges, such a decision can be reviewed by a higher court, but the Supreme Court has no such review (Liptak, 12/31).
The Washington Post: Roberts Defends Supreme Court Colleagues On Recusal Issue
Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. ... said Saturday that it was a misconception that Supreme Court justices do not follow the same set of ethical principles as other judges. In his year-end report on the state of the federal judiciary, Roberts for the first time addressed a growing controversy about when justices should recuse themselves from cases and whether a code of conduct that covers lower-court judges should apply to the justices as well (Barnes, 12/31).
USA Today: Chief Justice Defends Supreme Court's Recusal Policy
Since the Supreme Court said in November it will hear challenges to the law, including the requirement that most Americans buy health insurance by 2014, some conservative groups, including the Judicial Crisis Network, have said Kagan should sit out. Meanwhile some liberal groups, including the Alliance for Justice, have raised concerns about Thomas participating (Biskupic, 12/31).
The Associated Press: Chief Justice Defends Court's Impartiality
While not mentioning the upcoming health care ruling, or any case in particular, Roberts' year-end report dismissed suggestions that Supreme Court Justices are subject to more lax ethical standards than lower federal courts and said each Justice is "deeply committed" to preserving the Court's role as "an impartial tribunal" governed by law (Flaherty, 12/31).
Bloomberg: U.S. Chief Justice Offers Confidence In Recusals By Colleagues
Roberts said there is an important difference between lower federal courts, where judges "can freely substitute for one another" when a recusal occurs, and the Supreme Court, which "consists of nine members who always sit together, and if a justice withdraws from a case, the court must sit without its full membership" (Stern, 12/31).
Los Angeles Times: Chief Justice Roberts Says High Court Not Exempt From Ethics Rules
Kagan stepped aside from more than 20 cases in her first year. In early December, she signaled she would stay out of the Obama administration's clash with Arizona over immigration enforcement. But Kagan and Thomas have given no hint they will withdraw from the healthcare case (Savage, 12/31).