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January 02, 2012

Chief Justice Roberts: No Justice Is Recusing Themselves Over ObamaCare So Get Over It

A bit of a paraphrase but the headline conveys the gist of the Chief Justice's remarks.

I put this on Twitter yesterday but it's still worth noting even a day late.

Roberts said he could not comment on “ongoing debates about particular issues,” but noted that one of the original canons of judicial ethics adopted in 1924 said judges “should not be swayed by partisan demands, public clamor or considerations of personal popularity or notoriety, nor be apprehensive of unjust criticism.”

“I have complete confidence in the capability of my colleagues to determine when recusal is warranted,” Roberts wrote. “They are jurists of exceptional integrity and experience whose character and fitness have been examined through a rigorous appointment and confirmation process.”

He added: “We are all deeply committed to the common interest in preserving the court’s vital role as an impartial tribunal governed by the rule of law.”

Roberts also made an interesting argument in his remarks...Supreme Court Justices shouldn't be held to the same standards of lower court judges because you can't simply get another judge to fill in.

Roberts said the public should keep in mind a key difference between lower-court judges and Supreme Court justices: While lower-court judges can be replaced when they recuse themselves from cases, that is not the case at the “court of last resort.”

“A justice accordingly cannot withdraw from a case as a matter of convenience or simply to avoid controversy,” Roberts wrote. “Rather, each justice has an obligation to the court to be sure of the need to recuse before deciding to withdraw from a case.”

I don't think that really makes any sense. No judge should recuse themselves for frivolous reasons, if something would be a conflict for a lower court judge it should be a conflict for a Justice. Either they are compromised or they aren't, convenience should have nothing to do with it.

As far as ObamaCare goes, it's moot. No Justice is going to pass up the chance to take part a case with such potential for political and historical repercussions.

No matter what the decision, which is likely to come down late spring/early summer, is going to be a Big F'n Deal (as Joey Biden would say) in the middle of the presidential campaign.

I for one, can't wait to see how Mitt "Mandates are Conservative" Romney reacts.


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posted by DrewM. at 12:19 PM

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