Gavel Grab

Scholar Examines High Court Recusal, Separation of Powers

Responding to calls for Congress to more tightly regulate recusal practices by Supreme Court justices, Lou Virelli,  an associate professor of law at Stetson University College of Law, takes a different tack.

In a SCOTUSblog essay summing up some of his recent law review articles, Virelli argues that it is unconstitutional for Congress to regulate recusal practices of the nation’s highest court. Virelli sees a conflict between the Congress and the court in this area, and he goes further to explore ways to resolve the conflict.

He concludes it the responsibility of Congress “to resolve the impasse through the only mechanism capable of achieving such a resolution – targeted repeal of the [existing federal] recusal statute.” At the same time, Congress has indirect ways to check the recusal powers of the court, he writes.

Virelli’s SCOTUSblog piece is entitled, “Supreme Court recusal and the separation of powers.”

A year ago, former Sen. Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania, saying the Supreme Court’s 5-4 “recurrent” ideological split has “shaken confidence in its integrity,” called on Congress to set judicial recusal rules for the high court if the justices don’t act (see Gavel Grab). Specter died in October.

 

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